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The Line Between    by Peter S. Beagle order for
Line Between
by Peter S. Beagle
Order:  USA  Can
Tachyon, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Peter S. Beagle has included a number of his short fantasy stories in the satisfying compilation, The Line Between. While it reflects many different forms of fantasy storytelling, each entry is long enough to fill any fantasy fan's hunger for a good story.

The short stories here reach out to many different age groups. However, I particularly enjoyed two geared toward younger readers - Gordon, the Self-Made Cat and El Regalo. In the introduction to the former, Beagle states that he was trying to write a story along the lines of E. B. White's works. He succeeded admirably with this amusing tale of a mouse who wants to become the best cat possible. While Gordon, the Self-Made Cat would be a perfect read-aloud story for children, El Regalo is aimed more at a young adult audience. Angie Luke's younger brother Mervyn has just discovered that he has El Regalo, the gift of witchcraft. In an attempt to undo a foolish action of his sister's, Mervyn goes back in time to correct things. Unfortunately, he gets lost and Angie must save him. In the process - as in most young adult fantasies - she learns a great deal about herself. In his intro to El Regalo, Beagle mentions that he hopes to write a full novel about the adventures of the Luke siblings, and I hope he does.

While I enjoyed every imaginative story contained in The Line Between, the one that I fell in love with was one of his shorter stories, The Fable of the Ostrich. I have always been a fan of James Thurber's quirky and dark sense of humor - showcased in his Fables of Our Time - and Beagle's fable is a perfect fit. Its dark humor had me chuckling and wanting to read it again. This story perfectly exhibits Beagle's sense of humor, that would be out of place in some of his other fantasies.

Fantasy fans of all ages should pick up Peter S. Beagle's The Line Between. The stories are perfect for readers who want a satisfying fantasy but don't have the time to get involved in a long epic.

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