One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Unless you’re one of the people to whom the Grand Design was handed on a platter, “meaning” is where you find it. And when one is in that particular karmic space, one finds the strangest things to puzzle over. For instance, I’ve been going around and around over possibly the stupidest, least consequential questions in all creation: why do I have no problem re-reading an old story series but balk at watching TV re-runs?

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The Innkeeper’s Song

 The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter S. Beagle, Roc, 1994

A plot summary of this book might go something like this: A wizard and his former students fight against another former student who has traded his life to the darkness for power. It would be accurate, but totally misleading. So what was the book really about? Stories. Singing. Love. Hate. Obligations. Responsibilities. Death. Rebirth. Redemption….

If I had to describe The Innkeeper’s Song in a word, it would be this–chewy. Some books are like milkshakes. You just drink them down easily and go on to the next one. Others, like this one, you read slowly. If you don’t, you miss half of it. Beagle has packed in enough story in this novel for a book three times its size. Another author would have have turned it into a 1000 page doorstop and it would have taken no more time to read than it does at its proper length. This is one I’ll probably have to read again, since I’m sure I could come back to it in six months or so and be thinking “I totally missed that!” in every other chapter. There’s a lot here. Take your time.