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Ethan Feld has never been prone to adventure or attention, especially since he's often ridiculed about his lame baseball playing. But after he awakens one day to find a werefox sitting on his chest, Ethan learns he's ripe for a "fantastic destiny" in the Summerlands -- part of a connected, hidden world, where small American Indian-like ferishers play ball, and evil Coyote is thirsty to destroy the universe. Ethan agrees to the job, but when his father is kidnapped, his mission becomes more personal than he bargained for. With a team of ragtag players called Big Chief Cinquefoil's Traveling Shadowtails All-Star Baseball Club -- including the feisty pitcher Jennifer T., Thor Wignutt (a boy who's not quite a boy), a she-Sasquatch named Taffy, and the Anaheim Angels' Rodrigo Buendía -- Ethan treks through the Summerlands playing against incredible creatures and an impending time limit, hoping to reach his dad. Little does he know, however, that his abilities will be tested in the biggest baseball showdown of all time.

Chabon successfully weaves an American-made fantasy, incorporating Native American lore, tall tales, and our nation's greatest pastime to make a modern-day tale of good versus evil.

500 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2002

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About the author

Michael Chabon

168 books8,187 followers
Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was made into a film starring Michael Douglas. One of America’s most distinctive voices, Chabon has been called “a magical prose stylist” by the New York Times Book Review, and is known for his lively writing, nostalgia for bygone modes of storytelling, and deep empathy for the human predicament.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,269 reviews
Profile Image for Neil.
Author 2,055 books306k followers
May 23, 2011
(A review from 2002 and the Washington Post, written before Coraline was published.)

It is possible to look at the growth of the phenomenon of “crossover” fiction – essentially, Children’s or Young Adult fiction which is enjoyed and consumed in quantity by adults – in several different ways. You could view it as a sad symptom of the creeping infantilisation of the culture. You could see it as a triumph of marketing. Or, more optimistically, you could view it as a need by adults for Story, without which children will not read. Engines of story drive the books of Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Pullman, and the rest of the recent crop of crossover authors. Many of their books are, by any standard, good books, and perhaps adults simply needed to be told that it was socially acceptable to read them in order to be coaxed to pick them up.

I wonder though if there isn’t another phenomenon at work here. Fiction only seems capable of existing in one ghetto at a time, so if your book is in what used, rudely, to be known as the kiddylit ghetto, then it is children’s fiction no matter what else it might be (fantasy, historical, horror, SF, humour, romance, and so on.). As a result of the enormous success of authors like J.K. Rowling and Pullman, adults in their millions have now read and enjoyed fantasy novels without ever having had to browse the fantasy shelves. For the most part, after all, the crossover books tell tales in which the joy of story is also the joy of the fantastic without apology, a freedom of children’s literature that can be lost at adulthood, where metaphor becomes literal, and genre restrictions apply.

But whatever the reason, the former kiddylit ghetto has become fashionable, the cool people are moving in, and property prices are starting to climb.

It’s hard to get cooler than Michael Chabon, whose last novel, the Pulitzer prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay displayed a love for and perception of popular culture and an understanding of the engines that drive the teenage mind. In Summerland he uses that understanding to tell a very different kind of story,.

Ethan Feld is a terrible baseball player. His widower inventor father builds airships. Ethan plays baseball in Summerland, on the tip of Clam Island, Washington, where it never rains.

When Feld Sr. is kidnapped by the evil Coyote, in order to bring about the end of everything, Ethan and his not-a-girlfriend Jennifer T. Rideout, accompanied by their odd friend Thor and Cinquefoil (an Indian “ferisher” -- not quite a fairy, inspired, one assumes, by the Native American tales of tribes of very small, magical people) have to follow him across the many worlds while putting together a baseball team.

The first hundred pages of set-up are less assured, in tone and style, than the rest of the book. But as soon as the kids flee Summerland, and head off into a great beyond to put their team together and save the universe, the story finds its game. That they will succeed is never in any doubt. That there will be reverses and alarums, setbacks and treacheries and fine lessons to be learned is also a given from the off. Ethan must learn to save himself and, ultimately, the world.

Coyote, whenever he appears, which is too seldom, steals scenes with ease and aplomb. He’s Coyote, sure, and he’s Loki and Prometheus and probably Bugs Bunny and the Squire of Gothos as well: a force unto himself, who is having too much fun trying to bring about Ragnarok – delightfully Hobson-Jobsonned by Chabon into “Ragged Rock”.

Standout sequences include a magnificently gory chapter involving some unfortunate werewolves and the queen of the shaggurts – frost giants with “appetites vast and bloody” [p 410], and a storyline set within the Tall Tale tradition, where Ethan and his team meet the Big Liars of Old Cat Landing, the tall tale people, all “lies and legends made flesh...[who] hung around Old Cat landing, haunting its bars and brothels” [p 346], now sadly shrunken by time and disbelief: Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan and John Henry, Annie Christmas and the rest of them. It’s the place that Chabon comes closest to a genuine American mythopoeia and it is very fine indeed.

As a reader I sometimes felt shortchanged. It’s a thick book, but it could comfortably have been thicker: I wanted the better setpieces to go on longer, and to get more of a sense of what made the other members of Ethan’s baseball team tick -- with the exception of Ethan, Jennifer and the tragic she-sasquatch, Taffy, they seemed sketched, not painted. I wanted to see the games they lost. I wanted more.

But the engines that drive Summerland are real story engines, and they work hard to deliver: it’s a fantasy with a young protagonist, which fuses baseball, Native American tales, Norse myths and sundry shaggy god stories into a tasty, quest-driven stew. Whether this is enough, as the marketing material that accompanies the book trumpets, to make it “clearly and indisputably a classic” is much harder to judge, and one that time and popular taste will decide, not I. But it’s a rollicking and fine tale, well told and with moments of real magic, peril, adventure, terror and triumph in the mix, not to mention what is, I am certain, the most delightful sound of a window breaking in all of fiction. And that ought to be enough.
Profile Image for Benjamin Duffy.
148 reviews636 followers
February 10, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Mbgirl.
257 reviews8 followers
February 4, 2018

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.
Profile Image for Joe.
307 reviews10 followers
January 28, 2008
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 more of Chabon's novels. I didn't enjoy Summerland nearly as much as those other novels, but it was nevertheless an engaging read.
Profile Image for Mattia Ravasi.
Author 5 books3,551 followers
June 17, 2019
Video review

My review might sound slightly tongue-in-cheek but, make no mistake, there are still a couple of sentences in here that completely tear me up and are well worth the elven baseball extravaganza.
Profile Image for Michael Faris.
6 reviews47 followers
February 1, 2017
One of my favorite writers but definitely not my favorite book of his. His attempt at YA falls short as he tries to blend baseball, fantasy, and indian lore into a young adventure. Just falls weirdly flat in places.
Profile Image for lorinbocol.
261 reviews321 followers
Shelved as 'ciao-s-è-fatta-na-certa'
December 22, 2017
più o meno tutto quello che sapevo sul baseball fino a una decina di giorni fa veniva da che botte se incontri gli orsi. con walter matthau allenatore ad alto tasso alcolico di una scalcinata squadra di ragazzini. effettivamente non molto per sviscerare i segreti della major league, e poco (come ho constatato) anche per apprezzare quest’opera di cui temevo la definizione trappola «romanzo fantasy per lettori di ogni età».
più del fiuto poterono l’autore e una bellissima copertina, ma è stato un errore. perché mi sono ritrovata in una storia piena zeppa di baseball e di folletti e di epica di un mondo fatato. mi spiace ma non basta che chabon scriva sempre molto bene. forse se rinasco maschio e ho di nuovo 11 anni e una passione per i giants ci riprovo, ma per ora il signore degli anelli che gioca in prima base va oltre le mie capacità: il fuoricampo in questo caso non è una battuta vincente, sono io che mollo colpo.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,802 reviews1,235 followers
September 5, 2007
I had some problems with the writing style of this book, and it had a convoluted plot, but I did sort of fall in love with this fantasy book. I love kids’ lit and I’m a baseball fan, so this was right up my alley. He really knows baseball and my favorite part in the book was the comment about the designated hitter; for me that alone was worth the read.
Profile Image for Alan.
1,121 reviews111 followers
January 21, 2011
"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... more 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 more to my daughter—and each time through I've found it more rewarding.

Ethan Feld is the center of the book, an ordinary boy growing up in more-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."

While 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.
Profile Image for jeremy.
1,133 reviews279 followers
September 15, 2010
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 more 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 own.

"to 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 day."

and 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.
Profile Image for John.
1,458 reviews36 followers
April 2, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
Author 10 books13 followers
February 4, 2020
I truly loved Michael Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”, and I thoroughly enjoyed “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”, and I liked “Wonder Boys”. That’s why, when I saw that a friend of mine had “Summerland” on his bookshelf, I borrowed it when he wasn’t looking.

This is a story about three kids on a journey through four different worlds trying to save the universe. Along the way, they meet a lot of fantastical creatures, and play a lot of baseball. A variety of things get thrown together and tossed around—folklore, fairytales, baseball, physics—but it doesn’t quite meld. It’s like a fancy salad with all sorts of goodies, but when it’s served, everyone gets nothing but lettuce except for the last guy, who gets a big bowl full of olives and blue cheese.

And yet, I read the whole book and enjoyed it. Michael Chabon is a great writer, and even if the book doesn’t come together as a whole, the bits and pieces are delightful.

After I’d read a few hundred pages, I noticed a little square on the back of the book (let’s call it in foul territory, near third base), with the following identification: “HYPERION books for children” Would I call it a children’s book? Well, I wouldn't NOT call it a children’s book.

My recommendation: if you haven’t read Chabon’s other books, read one of the others instead of this one. And if you have read Chabon’s other books, and you liked them, you will probably like this one too.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,604 reviews25 followers
May 29, 2020
This book was ok. I had a really hard time keeping interested in it. There were some parts that were interesting but they were few and so far apart. I doubt that I will read more by this author.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,867 reviews5,032 followers
October 16, 2007
The pace is a bit slow, but that seems to fit because the story is about baseball. Also multidimensionality and the eternal fight of good against evil.
Profile Image for Von.
12 reviews3 followers
May 20, 2008
"They traded in their hell-hammers for bats, and their iron slippers for lace-up leather spikes. That's how all the demon virtues-patience, deception, quick hands, craftiness, an eye for the mistakes of others-they all got dragged deep into the game."

No, Mr. Chabon wasn't talking SPECIFICALLY about the New York Yankees...but we all get the reference, right? You know the feeling you get when you start reading something and internally you're going, "yeah, what he said, uhhuh, yup, oh yeah" and you realize that there's at least one other being on the planet who gets it (whatever "it" may be) and it's kinda like relief, giddy grinning happiness and contentment all at the same time? From page 1 until the cover closed my friends.

Even if you don't like baseball, or giants or fairies or fantasy or folk tales...essential basic truths, the way it is what it is, ooze throughout the story. It was so good I took my time, laughed out loud in parts, fair near cried at others.

"The truth of some promises is not as important as whether or not you can believe in them, with all your heart."
Profile Image for Woodge.
460 reviews30 followers
November 21, 2012
The description sounds good, eh? I read this aloud to the kids. About a hundred pages in I started having misgivings. I did not enjoy this book. But the kids would've been out of sorts had I not finished it (they'll listen to almost anything). I don't really have anything good to say about this book. While I've read other books by the author and really liked them, this one counts as a FAIL. (For the record, my wife really enjoyed it.) Here's what I didn't like about it:

a) the writing style: too flowery; hard to read aloud; choppy sentences that went all over the place
b) the story: take a bunch of folklore, myth, and baseball and mix it all up into a miasmic stew. And I couldn't follow it very well. New things seemed to be added willy-nilly. Tangents would shoot off in mid-sentence so that I'd lose track of what the subject was supposed to be. Didn't get any sense of suspense either. The climax was anti.
c) the length: 500 pages! what a mess.

I hated this.

(Read the 1-star reviews on Amazon, they're spot on.)
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 110 books754 followers
December 10, 2007
I loved this book. Not quite as much as Kavalier & Clay, but still in the five star range. It had a kind of Neil Gaiman-y take on myth. I love books that explore myth or archtypes in a modern context, but this was a really good example. I have to admit the characters were far more likeable and accessible to me than many of Gaiman's characters. I enjoy baseball but I can't say I'm a big baseball fan' this really conveyed a sense of what the true fans see in it. I haven't read Chabon's works other than this and Kavalier & Clay, but I was really impressed by the quality of the writing, and by how different the tone of this book was from the other.
Profile Image for Christopher.
990 reviews3 followers
May 16, 2016
This book does not read like a children's book. It reads like a book for adults trying to recreate the feeling of a children's book. That is why it seems patronizing and artificial and riddled with cliches. At this point any novel that features the "magical elderly black man" trope should be condemned. Earlier writers could be excused but welcome to the 21st century.
Profile Image for Luca Masera.
228 reviews60 followers
March 20, 2021
Folletti che salvano il mondo giocando a baseball... Non è il mio ma mi rendo conto che ho sbagliato io a iniziarlo.

Quanta fatica per finirlo, dannazione a me e a quel principio morale che non mi fa abbandonare i libri se non li ho finiti!
Profile Image for Tiffany.
Author 3 books61 followers
August 12, 2016
Listened to this with the kids on the road to New York--I'd listened to it on my own years ago, and have waited for the time when they were old enough, into baseball enough, etc. I bought it for other kids. But as Cubs fans say, "THIS [was] the year." The kids loved it: fairies AND sports?! Best of all possibles. Chabon does well reading, too, even with such a long book (12 discs). Don't know how old you have to be to read it in paper; I keep buying it in paper and then giving it away before I try. I keep telling the kids and parents--"They might not be ready for it yet...but just wait. They WILL like it."

I deeply appreciate this part of Chabon's oeuvre--like most of his best work, it's all "go big or go home"--and I think it must be under appreciated because he writes lots for big-kids. The compendium of mythologies here is outstanding, and the really big questions about pain and life's meaning and change and culture are wonderful.

I'm also interested in the way this work, like, say, Karen Russell's work, or maybe even John Darnielle's, has a spiritual longing to it, along with enough shibbolethy awareness of messianic-type religious traditions to be among the more sensitive treatments. Highly recommend.

Profile Image for Joanna Vaught.
Author 2 books25 followers
July 23, 2010
name a writing gimmick that is used in fantasy, particularly young adult fantasy, and i'm sure it was employed here. an alternate reality that is tied to our reality that explains all the mythological and fantastical characters in our collective mythos? yes. time works differently in this world, so you can be there and be gone for a lifetime or only a few minutes or SHOCK even go back in time? yes. a powerful nemesis who is actually the embodiment of every known evil since the beginning of time, including satan? yes. kids who suspect that they are special and then they turn out to be not only special but extremely important in the saving OF THE WORLD? yes. kids who are bullied in school and turn out to be the biggest heroes of them all? YES. i spent the whole book thinking: "oh i see what you're doing here, michael," and i would have forgiven it if he'd done any of it particularly well, but he didn't. i didn't care about any of the characters, and the bits i did like a lot (they existed!) were so overshadowed by the bits i hated that it all evened out to mediocrity.
Profile Image for James F.
1,435 reviews95 followers
August 23, 2020
For my "work-at-home" reader's advisory/blog post, I did something I almost never do -- read a book intended for children (probably aimed at ten and eleven-year-olds). I chose the novel by Michael Chabon because I enjoyed his adult novel Moonglow a few years back; it was a complex book with interesting subject matter. This children's book is of course much simpler with a traditional narrative structure; it is essentially a typical middle grade fantasy in which a group of eleven-year-olds (a Little League baseball team) save the universe from supernatural evil. The villain is called "Coyote" and is the trickster figure of Native American legend, but also identified with the Norse Loki. In fact, the book seemed to me to a combination of Norse mythology and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, with a good deal of baseball. Not really what interests me, but the story was fast-paced and consistent and would probably be a good read for someone of the appropriate age.
Profile Image for Terry Brooks.
Author 388 books77.3k followers
November 11, 2010
Summerland came out a couple of years ago, a young adult novel by prize winning writer Michael Chabon. I bought it because I like the author's other work, and I was intrigued by the baseball aspect of the structure. Basically, it is an end of the world story in which baseball plays a role in not only daily life but in the possibility of salvation. It sounds weird, and it is - which made it all the more interesting to me. A boy who can't hit or field becomes our best hope in a struggle with dark elements working to poison the tree of life at the end of the world. A ragtag bunch of kids, strange fairy folk and a flying car set out on a journey in which baseball is constantly being played against all sorts of odd teams on the way. If you don't like baseball or magic, this book isn't for you. I thought it was pretty clever and entertaining. You decide.
Profile Image for Caroline Mann.
192 reviews6 followers
March 12, 2021
It's been too long since I've read Michael Chabon. He is just fantastic. I can't understand his talent, it is so immense, so varied, so focused. It should be impossible for the same author who wrote Mysteries of Pittsburgh and The Yiddish Policeman's Union and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay to ALSO be the one who wrote Summerland.

Then again, when you read those books, it does seem like only one person could have written them. Chabon is truly unique in his gift.

Summerland is a story of baseball and heroism and friendship. It takes place in a universe not unlike the one presented in The Magician's Nephew (in so far as -- there are multiple worlds with a common meeting place, wherein those who know how to can travel to and from the multiple worlds). Throughout the story, Chabon takes great care with parent-child relationships. It would be easy to say that this is a story about loving baseball, but it's not. The heart of this story is what it means to care for, to lose, and to forgive a parent or child.

Read this book. Pass it on to a parent or to a kid or to anyone looking for a grand adventure written by one of the greatest living talents in the literary world.
Profile Image for Robert.
94 reviews
March 13, 2017
I dearly love Michael Chabon's ability to write but this baseball fantasy legend struck out with me. The main characters were decently drawn but the story kept falling through holes in the scenery, following Ethan on a shaky path. After 150 pages, I decided that I just couldn't force myself to finish it and was enticed by other spines in bookcase. That's disappointing because after Chabon masterpieces in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Final Solution, and Manhood for Amateurs, I was anticipating better.
Profile Image for Fred.
278 reviews302 followers
September 30, 2021
This is a lovely book, deep and rich and satisfying. It's lyrically poetic but also a compellingly readable story. If you loved Watership Down or The Wind in the Willows you understand that calling a book a "children's book," doesn't mean it's trivial or poorly crafted or not worth your attention. Because this one is definitely worth your attention.
32 reviews
September 23, 2023
my first Chabon! Although I’m not usually a reader of fantasy, I did enjoy this story! 500 pages is a lot and I definitely wasn’t into it the whole time, but the baseball parts made it more entertaining.
Profile Image for Nicholas Martens.
102 reviews1 follower
October 14, 2019
Ambitious young adult novel that no one but Chabon could pull off. It's at once a rollicking adventure story, a paean to baseball, and a hyper-literate mishmash of Norse legend, Native American legend, American tall tales, fables, and cryptids. I had to look up some of the references out of curiosity, but it's by no means required that you do so.
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