Book Report: We Never Talk About My Brother
13 May 2009, 2:14 PM
Your Humble Blogger has never been as keen on Peter S. Beagle as some others. Not sure why. Presumably it has something to do with failing to read The Last Unicorn at the precise moment to be largely formed by it. But whatever the reason, Peter S. Beagle remains one of those writers that I feel, somewhat shamefacedly, that I should like more than I do.
And then there’s the whole thing where I don’t like the short story form very much anymore. So, seriously, I almost didn’t grab We Never Talk About My Brother from the New Books shelf. I mean, first of all, if I hate the stuff, I have to admit it on my blog, and then nobody will ever speak to me again. And second, since clearly everybody else in the world loves Peter S. Beagle and short stories, my taking it home for a week is depriving some poor shlub who has better taste than I do. But what the heck, maybe I’ll like it, and then I can sit with the cool kids.
In fact, I enjoyed reading the stories, although the main thing I wound up enjoying was the portrayal (in two of the stories) of the Bronx in the early fifties. Mr. Beagle is a few years younger than my father, and grew up in much the same neighborhood. Not the same block, I think, or the same P.S., but not all that different, either. Or at least, that’s the impression I get from the stories and from my Dad’s stories.
My favorite story in the collection, then, unsuprisingly is the one about the Stickball Witch. It’s a lovely little story, actually, just the right size for itself, if you know what I mean, with the right amount (for me) of digressive characterization without losing track of what’s going on, and a nice line between naturalism and fabulation.
Well, anyway. I’m glad I read the stories, but I still don’t like his stuff as much as I should, probably.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,