This eagerly-awaited book by much-acclaimed author, Michael Chabon, is his first for children. It is a story about redemption and the true nature of heroism.
Ethan, is a young hero on a quest though the strange world of American Faery. Since baseball is the favourite game of American fairies, or 'ferishers' as the North American Fairy Folk call themselves, this is necessarily a story of baseball, too. Zeppelins, werefoxes, Indians and Indian mythology, sasquatches, wendigos, Alaska, the haunted, 161-year-old husk of George Armstrong Custer, and a boy who thinks he's an android, also figure in the action. Along the way, the hero and heroine find themselves and each other; a band of Ferishers triumphs over their ancient enemy and finally find someone new to play baseball against; a widower's heart will heal as his airship conquers the Northern sky; and a burned out Colombian slugger named Rodrigo Buendia will find redemption in discovering, with Ethan Feld and Jennifer T. Rideout, the true nature of heroism.
Summerland has the feel of a book written simply to give pleasur – the first, overwhelming intensity of pleasure that can rarely be replicated in adult reading. The Telegraph
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Summerland is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon's first novel for children and his attempt at an American Narnia. Inspired by Lewis and Tolkien, he wanted to create his own magical landscape on which to paint a sweeping fantasy quest, but mixing the same ingredients--folklore and new inventions--in a distinctively American way.
But Chabon has certainly made it difficult for himself. Baseball--at the heart of the story he has clearly only just begun to tell--is not the statistical everyday obsession to young readers this side of the Atlantic as it is over there. Talk of reaching first base and home runs, yes, but sliders, curveballs, sacrifice fly's and the seventh inning stretch are terminology virtually unknown.
The plot is simple and pure, but takes a long time to tell. The setting is Clam Island, Washington, and specifically the area on the western tip of the island known as the Summerlands which enjoys zero rainfall and year-long fine weather. Ethan Feld, a self-confessed really bad ball player, is recruited by a hundred-year-old scout called Mr Chiron "ringfinger" Brown. Ethan is needed to help the ferishers, essentially American 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 savour every word in Summerland to extract the best flavours from it. Suitable for readers aged 12 upwards. --John McLayReview:
Praise for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
‘An adventure story that keeps you up until 4am with the bedside lamp on, eager to learn if the Escapist, and Chabon himself, can free the enslaved and lead them home.' Observer
‘Proof of the abiding power of complex, serious, engaged, but above all entertaining story-telling.' TLS
'A page-turning epic, sketching World War II as seen through the eyes of two comic book writers.' Time Out
'A novel of towering achievement.' New York Times
'Absolutely gosh-wow, super-colossal.' Washington Post
Praise for Wonder Boys:
• ‘The natural exuberance and extravagance of Chabon’s writing is matched by dazzling wit.’ Sunday Telegraph
• ‘Wonder Boys is a superb creation, a raucously comic yet deeply lyrical work.’ Sunday Times
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Book Description Miramax/Hyperion Books for Children (2002)., 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007127111