The Last Unicorn
Some novels haunt you, and The Last Unicorn is one of them. It tells the story of a unicorn who discovers that all others of her kind have disappeared. To find them, she leaves her woods and goes out into a world where unicorns are not even recognized anymore, on a quest that leads her to face the evil King Haggard and the Red Bull.
Beagle’s prose is simple and beautiful, his imagery sometimes odd but always memorable. He writes about a fairytale world gone just a little bit crooked, where the absurd and the mythical are jumbled together–yet it works, for one of the themes is the relation between myth and the everyday world. He beautifully evokes the desire for magic and wonder, and weaves in reflections on stories, heroes, time and immortality.
“I will go back to my forest too, but I do not know if I will live contentedly there, or anywhere. I have been mortal, and some part of me is mortal yet. I am full of tears and hunger and the fear of death, though I cannot weep, and I want nothing, and I cannot die. I am not like the others now, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but I can. I regret.”
There are no deep moral insights in this book, but there is nothing objectionable, either; good, evil, and self-sacrifice are all presented in a traditional manner.