Sleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle
Copy Courtesy of Tachyon Publications
Release: Mid-March 2011
This is one of the few times I will pull a summary from Goodreads for a review. I'm only doing it because this is a collection of short stories which have a common theme, but are not part of the same bigger story.
Summary (from Goodreads)
Abundant with tales of quiet heroism, life-changing decisions, and determined searches for deep answers, this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy explores the realms between this world and the next. From the top of the Berlin Wall to the depths of the darkest seas, gods and monsters battle their enemies and innermost fears, yet mere mortals make the truly difficult choices. A slightly regretful author and a vengeful-but-dilapidated dragon square off over an abandoned narrative; the children of the Shark God demand painful truths from their chronically absent father; and a bereaved women sacrifices herself to change one terrible moment, effortlessly reversed by a shuffle of the deck. Whether melancholic, comedic, or deeply tragic, each new tale is suffused with misdirection and discovery, expressed in the rich and mesmerizing voice of a masterful storyteller.
I think I've mentioned this before, but I'm not much of a fan of short stories because I always want more story. This compilation though was truly fantastic. I liked each and every story in this collection. Not only did I like them, I found each one to be thought-provoking although there were a couple which stood out as the best.
The magic in each story is different and some of it is more subtle than in other stories, but all of them have the feel of a master storyteller behind them. There is a foreword for each story with some background about how the story came to be written, and even the stories where Messir Beagle says he didn't feel was in his zone of comfort for writing were artfully spun.
If you're looking for a collection of short stories which will touch you emotionally as well as intellectually, you should definitely pick up Sleight of Hand.
Star Rating: 4.5/5.0
For an explanation of the Star Rating go here.
Note: I really like the tactile feel of this book's cover... not that this really has anything to do with the contents of the book