The Folk of the Air

The Folk Of The Air - Peter S. Beagle

This book is decades old, out of print, and has been reviewed and picked apart many times over, so I'll try to keep my review short.


This is my second Peter Beagle book, and once again I'm struck by his language. This book in particular is 90% mood and atmosphere, 10% story. There is a plot, and there are characters (well drawn ones at that), but that all comes secondary to evoking a strong sense of place and mood. In fact, I'd say this book is just one big Mood. And that's kind of wonderful. Fantasy from this era has such a distinct feel - it drew me back in time to my youth, reading books much like this one and being transported.


It's also worth remarking upon how gentle this book is. There's a core of compassion that I haven't seen often in books of any genre. It hits upon bittersweetness, youth, optimism, and naivety. It paints people lovingly, even when they aren't perhaps the most lovable. It has also aged, in my opinion, very well in the treatment of women. The ladies in this book have agency and strength, and are probably the most compelling and well-rounded characters in the story.


I don't particularly have any criticisms of this book - the only reason my rating isn't higher is because I prefer a swifter story. This book is like laying in a lazy river, slowly being pulled downstream, and watching the sun wink through the tree branches overhead. It's a lovely journey. I just happen to like a few more rapids in my rivers.