Would you LARP? Participate in a live action role-playing game, that is. That question took center stage during our latest book club meeting. This month we read The Folk of the Air by Peter S. Beagle, author of the acclaimed book, The Last Unicorn. The Folk of the Air follows the return home of Joe Farrell as he reconnects with his oldest buddy and gets wrapped up in a mystical circle of new friends.
Our group concluded that the book was a “beautiful failure.” Our main complaint was the length. The introduction to the plot was hard to get through. Unnecessary scenes added to the length, but didn’t contribute to the plot. And while there seemed to be a lot of unneeded pages, there certainly wasn’t a much acknowledgement of all the crazy stuff that was going on. We were onboard to enter into this fantastical world; however it was tough to stay on the same page as the characters when their reactions to magical events were often glossed over. But, while the progression of the book was flawed, it paid off for the adventure it eventually takes you on.
Written in 1988, we also found it interesting to compare The Folk of the Air to more modern fantasy books. The adventure and its characters were similar to more recent fantasy novels we’ve read, but overall it felt like there was a lot less at risk. The stakes were lower in Beagle’s story and it didn’t feel as dark. Even though certain characters seemed like they had the potential to be evil, they never really were.
But more importantly, back to our first question: would you LARP? The group was split. Some of us wondered if dressing up and acting as if you were from the 1920’s or 1960’s would count, or if medieval times, dragons, and knights were essential to LARPing. There was the potential that we would feel too self conscious to really take part in such an event, but, if our friend’s were involved and it was a nice day out…sure, why not LARP.
Join us as we read our next book club pick The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell!