A Dance for Emilia
by Peter S. Beagle
First printing October 2000
For those with physical injuries we have blue signs and reserved parking spaces, but we are all handicapped. At various times in our lives we all need crutches. But the crutches we lean on are not made of wood or metal, they're the support of our friends and family. Or the teachings of this or that religion.
Peter S. Beagle has written a small crutch. A Dance for Emilia is a novella length fantasy about coming to grips with the death of a friend and loved one.
Here Beagle presents us with two people - one the ex-wife of the deceased, the other his best friend - meeting and trying to work through their loss. They stay a few nights in the deceased's house going through his belongings, only to find the deceased's cat acting strangely. The cat has been posessed by the spirit of the departed.
This is not a major work, but rather a small set piece. Perhaps springing from the author's own need to deal with death in his life. It is quiet and steady with one ultimate thing to say: we must let go.
Beagle writes well, but -- unless this is a crutch you are in need of -- it is unsatisfying.