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Summerland Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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The plot is simple and pure, but takes a long time to tell. The setting is Clam Island, Washington, specifically the area on the western tip of the island known as the Summerlands, which enjoys zero rainfall and yearlong fine weather. Ethan Feld, a self-described really bad ball player, is recruited by a 100-year-old scout called Mr. Chiron "Ringfinger" Brown. Ethan is needed to help the ferishers, essentially fairies, to save their world from eradication. On the great infinite tree of worlds, Summerland is on the boundary between two such worlds, and a particularly destructive fairy called Coyote and his band of warriors are nearby and threatening to destroy everything.
Heroes are desperately needed to counter this threat, and their journey involves a lot of baseball, but also encounters with giants, bat-winged goblins, sea monsters, and assorted cunning magic. The novel features an ensemble cast of equal parts that shine and fade in turn, and yet the undoubtedly fine writing fails to mask the enormity and complexities of the world in which they travel, and the bad guys getting their comeuppance always seems so far away. Readers need to savor every word in Summerland to extract the best flavors from it. (Ages 10 and older.) --John McLay, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is set on fictitious Clam Island in Washington state's San Juan islands, where there is a place on the western side of the island that never sees rain during the summer. This is Summerland, and it is where the local little league teams play their games.
An eleven year old boy on one of the teams, Ethan Feld, is not much of a ballplayer, but he's friends with Jennifer T. Rideout, one of the best players on the team. There's also Thor Wignutt, a player who thinks he's an android and talks like Data from Star Trek. One day Ethan begins having strange visions of bushbabies near the field and on the roadside. The creature is actually a werefox named Cutbelly, and meeting him is the beginning of Ethan's adventure.
Ethan's father is an inventer and tinkerer who has come up with a material used in a portable blimp that they fly around the island. It turns out that a certain character wants to use the material to hold a substance so that he can bring about the end of the world. Once Mr. Feld is kidnapped, it's up to Ethan, his friends, and an odd assortment of characters that they meet along the way, to save the day.
It's kind of like "The Lord of the Rings" meets "The Bad News Bears" with a liberal dose of random mythologies thrown in for spice.
For example, we have the "ferishers" who are dimunitive creatures (faeries?) that excell at baseball and scampering between the various world/dimensions known as the summerlands, the winterlands, and the middling (our world) with the gleaming as the great world shut off from the rest.Read more ›
This might be a great book for kids (really precocious well-read kids), but as an adult, it wasn't really for me (although I did read and enjoy the Harry Potter books, so I am probably part of Miramax's target market).
If you have read Neil Gaiman's American Gods (or Sandman series) -- you will immediately feel like you are on old ground here. Chabon does exactly the same trick -- He explores various American myths and legends, but couched in a framework of Norse Mythology. Thus, just as in American Gods we have Loki, and Ragnorok (here Ragged Rock) and various American icons, Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Billy the Kid, that kind of thing. And since Chabon is a professed comic geek, I expect he has read Gaiman as well, so I hold him somewhat culpable.
The difference -- this story is told from the perspective of an 11 year old boy -- sort of American Gods meets Harry Potter (or The Talisman).
Fine...it is a quick read, and Chabon is still a great writer-- but the book seemed to me to be written in haste, and his plotting felt messy and haphazard: for example some of the minor characters such as Cutbelly and Thor seem to be entirely mutable, changing their allegiances and personalities throughout the book, until you have no sense of them at all. Transitions were frequently abrupt, as if the author just wanted to get on to his next idea.
Far be it from me to belittle the considerable gifts of Michael Chabon -- Kavalier and Klay was one of the most exceptional books I have read in recent memory, (and he did win the Pulitzer Prize, after all).Read more ›
Summerland is the tale of a young boy in modern day Washington state who is quite possibly the worst baseball player around. Ethan lives on a small island that features an are of it that never gets rain. Therefore, baseball is very popular with Ethan and his friends.
What nobody knows is that this area, known as Summerland, is also a portal/rift to other dimensions. When extra-dimensional beings start causing problems and kidnap Ethan�s inventor/engineer father to help them destroy the tree that links all the worlds, Ethan and his friends must band together to save the world/worlds.
Chabon introduces the reader to some of the most inventive characters I�ve read ever. When these characters are combined with beautifully described foreign worlds and the great American sport of baseball. The result is pure magic.
Highly Recommended for Kids and Adults
I found this book to be mediocre. The writing itself was beautiful at times. Chabon's knowledge of various folklore and legend was impressive, although I found his mix of them sometimes confusing. The four worlds was an interesting element, particularly given how Chabon used them to explain phenomena in our own. And of course, Chabon's love of baseball shone through brightly. Not being a baseball fan myself, I didn't find those parts particularly compelling, but the passion in them was undeniable.
The story, however, is why I hesitate rating this book higher. Many of the characters were fun and memorable - Ethan, Jennifer T., Cutbelly - but the "bad guys" were rather one-dimensional. I expected much more out of Coyote given the vibrant set of legends surrounding him. Many of his minions, too, were much too black-and-white for my tastes. The progression of the story chiefly annoyed me. The characters often seemed to advance more thanks to a series of fortunate circumstances than through any action of their own (Thor just happens to be a shadowtail, Pettipaw conveniently shows up at the right moment, the stick Ethan finds happens to be magical). It seemed heavy-handed.
All in all, I'd say that this book is probably pure magic to a baseball fan, but in terms of fantasy, it's nothing to write home about.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
gift book for tween-Chabon is one of the greatest authors today-his writing is just magnificent whether its this foray into young adult lit or anythng else-can't wait for all else... Read morePublished 12 days ago by RMF
I had a copy before that was bound improperly, and had dozens of pages missing! Thankfully, your copy was complete. Thanks!Published 10 months ago by sandcastle
Tons of adventure curiosity and was the best book ever I will read it over and over again that's why I give this book 5 starsPublished 15 months ago by sweet
Summerland combines mystical creatures and Native American legends with the love of baseball and the insecurities of prepubescent boys. This recipe is complex, but it works. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Steven R. Lindahl
One of my biggest complaints about Michael Chabon's writing is that sometimes it feels like he took fourteen tries to write his description of a turkey sandwich. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Lumpyhead
I read this book because I thought it might interest my grand-kids who play soft ball. It took me a long time to get into the complex narrative, and to become familiar with the... Read morePublished on July 16, 2014 by Meredith Kopald
I love the mix of fantastic realism, mythology, and baseball. Also, I've enjoyed everything I've read by Michael Chabon. Read morePublished on July 5, 2014 by Barbara
I wanted to read a nice book about baseball, since I'm writing something that has a bit of baseball in it. The fantasy aspect of the book was a surprise, but it was fun.Published on January 15, 2014 by Marko Realmonte
What a fun book! Even more fun since I am pretty well versed in the fables and Norse mythology that it is based on. Quite an engaging tale, even for an adult. Read morePublished on January 13, 2014 by Jeffrey Rich, BS, LMT