Summerland Is The Story Of A Young Hero On A Quest Through The Strange World Of The American Faery This Is A Fantasy For Readers Of All Ages, Set Against The Background Of The American Myth The Clam Island Fairies Are In Grave Peril War Is Coming, Another Battle In An Ancient Conflict When The Band Sends For A Champion, They Get An Year Old Boy Named Ethan Feld He Hates Baseball And Wants To Quit His Losing Team, But Jennifer T Rideout Loves Baseball And Won T Let Him Quit The Two Find Themselves On A Journey That Includes Zeppelins, Werefoxes, Indian Mythology, Sasquatches, Wendigos, And The Haunted Year Old Husk Of George Armstrong Custer Finally Ethan Becomes Who He Is A Changeling, A Hero, And Even A Man Publisher Statement Imagine Lord of the Rings if the characters stopped every couple days to play baseball.
Working within an amalgamation of Norse, Greek, and Native American mythology as well as American tall tales, Chabon tells a not atypical coming of age quest story tied inextricably to baseball Baseball, as it turns out, is not only America s pasttime, but also a sacred institution on the other planes of existence Ethan, a kid who hates baseball, must learn to love it as he battles his way across the Summerlands and the Winterlands to stop Coyote, sort of a trickster archetype that has elements of Satan and Loki After being blown away by the Yiddish Policeman s Union and the Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, I wanted to read some of Chabon s novels I didn t enjoy Summerland nearly as much as those other novels, but it was nevertheless an engaging read.
one of the many qualities that sets michael chabon s writing well beyond the realm of his contemporaries is his obvious love of craft throughout his works it is apparent that he finds sheer joy in the art of storytelling chabon s enthusiasm for literature is far reaching, as is evidenced by his ability to write engagingly well in many a different genre no two chabon books are ever all that similar, and as his career evolves, he seems set on authoring works entirely unlike their predecessors literary fiction, speculative fiction sci fi , swashbuckling adventure tales, short stories, autobiographical essays, and a young adult novel it appears chabon s talent and imagination are nearly limitless Summerland is a fantastic and inventive tale which, while written for a young audience, would find favor with anyone who admires a well told, creative work of fiction much has been made of Summerland and its comparisons to tolkien and cs lewis are complimentary than anything commingling many a different mythology norse, greek, native american, and american folklore with his own imaginative and interdependent worlds and chimerical characters, chabon has conjured an epic tale like no other with baseball as the common thread that weaves the story together, Summerland is an homage to youth, play, discovery, imagination, and belief in one s self like many great works of fiction, chabon s mythical world opens us up to the spectacular possibilities inherent in our ownto grasp the fundamental truth a baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer dayand in that moment he felt for the first time that optimistic and cheerful boy allowed himself to feel how badly made life was, how flawed no matter how richly furnished you made it, with all the noise and variety of Something, Nothing always found a way in, seeped through the cracks and patches mr feld was right life was like baseball, filled with loss and error, with bad hops and wild pitches, a game in which even champions lost almost as often as they won, and even the best hitters were put out seventy percent of the time.
After the autobiographical introduction, the book lost my interest completely.
Yet we know that no branch is utterly severed from the Tree of Life that sustains us all Peter Hewitt, as quoted in a Unitarian hymnal.
Michael Chabon s Summerland offers a tale both staunchly traditional and boldly imaginative, weaving elements of Norse mythology together with Native American legends, tall tales, and just a dash of science fiction And baseball than anything else, this book is about baseball But don t let that put you off, even if you don t care for the game and I must admit I m nothing like a fan myself After all, as it s written in Peavine s How to Catch Lightning and Smoke, a baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day I ve read this book through three times now once for myself, once to my son, and once to my daughter and each time through I ve found it rewarding.
Ethan Feld is the center of the book, an ordinary boy growing up in or less ordinary circumstances out on Clam Island, a relatively remote locale in the Pacific Northwest which is only reachable by ferry, ever since the spectacular collapse of the Clam Island Narrows Bridge in 1943 The bridge has never been rebuilt as the residents believe and Chabon explains, Islands have always been strange and magical places crossing the water to reach them ought to be, even in a small way, an adventure Clam Island has a piece of that magic Summerland, a park at the tip of the island containing Jock McDougal Field, where somehow it never seems to rain whenever there s a game to play.
Not that Ethan s overjoyed by this He plays catcher on the Clam Island Roosters, but it s mostly to please his recently widowed father, Bruce Feld, the inventor of picofiber and the personal zeppelin Ethan just can t seem to pay attention to the game, or hit a ball to save his life In fact, he s just about ready to quit the team, although his best friend Jennifer T Rideout, the pitcher for the Roosters, tells him that s Not going to happen But then the magic comes, inescapably Mr Feld is kidnapped by Coyote the Trickster, and Ethan, Jennifer and Thor Wignutt, another Clam Island Rooster who sometimes goes by the android name TW03, are taken scampering by the werefox Cutbelly among the branches of the world spanning Tree Yggdrasil, in all but name , on a desperate quest to rescue Mr Feld, and almost incidentally to avert Ragged Rock, the prophesied end of everything.
The details of their quest are well, they matter, of course, but in a way they re not even the point Ethan learns how to play baseball from its inventors, the ferishers don t call them faerie and the whole book comes crashing to a very satisfying and cathartic crescendo Happily ever after is, while not really a possibility, certainly hinted at.
As a father, Chabon knows what will hit home I was unable to read this antepenultimate paragraph to my daughter without breaking It was the kind of promise a father makes easily and sincerely, knowing at the same time that it will be impossible to keep The truth of some promises is not as important as whether or not you can believe in them, with all your heart A game of baseball can t really make a summer day last forever A home run can t really heal all the broken places in our world, or in a single human heart And there was no way that Mr Feld could keep his promise never to leave Ethan again All parents leave their children one day p.
480While that may be true, it is devoutly to be hoped that you can hang around at least long enough to finish this book with them.
I guess if I were eleven years old, this book would ve been alright But, coming from a Pulitzer winning author, I was kinda expecting a 500 page kids fantasy novel to be at least moderately entertaining for adults as well Chabon s prose is excellent, but he tries too hard to be quirky and, therefore, the story never really sucks you in the way it s supposed to because nearly everything that happens in the plot feels random and silly The basic premise of Summerland is that a boy selected to be Earth s champion, a girl who can throw invisible pitches, a Sasquatch, a miniature giant in other words, a normal looking boy who loves to eat rats , a designated hitter from the big leagues, the girl who originally invented the designated hitter rule, a wererat, and a Native American looking faery creature set off in their Volkswagen dirigible to sabotage the Devil s plans for inter universal destruction by challenging the Prince of Darkness himself along with his demon horde to a game of baseball DEUS EX MACHINA after DEUS EX MACHINA occurs as this lovable band of misfits overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles during the course of their journey I like the idea of mixing baseball and fantasy together, but Chabon s take on it just feels way too highly contrived Summerland was entertaining enough that I read it all the way through, but disappointing enough that I regret ever having started reading it in the first place.
The perfect love child of Shoeless Joe and American Gods, and one of the best tween age novels I ve ever read This is the first of Michael Chabon s books that I ve read, but it s obvious on every page that he isn t a children s author, but simply a great writer who decided to write a children s book Better than merely utilitarian, Chabon s language is a joy to read accessible enough that my then 9 year old stepson enjoyed it, yet I was kept on my toes by the rich, sharp imagery and inventive uses of simile and metaphor Considering this book is aimed at the same general age group as the Harry Potter series which I enjoyed , the writing in Summerland makes those books come off as impossibly clunky by comparison.
One of the fastest 500 page reads I ve encountered, and a fantastic ride Special mention has to go to the wonderful end of the world scene, which is vividly described, exhilarating, and as plausible as any I ve read anywhere else.
Convoluted I desire to give this 500 pg hardbound book away.
to a child who LOVES baseball, and who doesn t mind fantasy This was def the wrong choice of book for the first Chabon book I ve ever read But I am stubborn, and thought I could get into the story given I was educated as to Chabon s headspace after having lost a child, his grieving, his love of baseball, his wanting the remaining kids to have a story with hidden lessons.
Not a book for me But I can definitely spot the jewels of the book.
like Phantom Tollbooth, like Enyd B fairy tales, like Lion Witch and Wardrobe I do like that home run denouement, though.
and the relationship Ethan had with Splinter Lastly, I m a sucker for any book set in the Pacific Northwest.