In my goal to read more novellas this year I also started looking in my existing collection for novellas I already own. One I came across was In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle. Beagle is famous for his book The Last Unicorn, a book which I loved. This one is also about a unicorn, including the lovely tapestry Unicorn in Captivity on the cover.
In Calabria is the story of an elderly farmer in the Italian countryside. He lives alone, tends to his fields and animals and chats with his postman. He isn’t happy per se, but content enough. That all changes when one day a unicorn shows up on his land. What follows is a whirlwind of events, of trying to find out why the unicorn is there, trying to protect the unicorn from the world and trying to protect his way of life.
I went into this book blank, as I have an eBook version and thus no summary on the back cover. I was surprised that it took place in our world/time, and not a fantasy land far removed from our daily life. It was refreshing to see an unicorn in modern Italy, and the reaction of modern man to it. It basically takes the medieval legends about unicorns, and just extrapolates them to the here and now. What if those legends are true, and a unicorn shows up just like it might have done a thousand years ago. A very nice and sweet story, four out of five stars.