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Summerland

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  7,997 ratings  ·  838 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon is now giving a nod to younger audiences with this wondrous fantasy triumph about magical parallel worlds, the legend of baseball, and one boy's amazing journey to save the universe.



Ethan Feld has never been prone to adventure or attention, especially since he's often ridiculed about his lame baseball playin

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Paperback, 500 pages
Published October 28th 2002 by Time Warner Book Group (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Neil
(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
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Benjamin Duffy
The perfect love child of Shoeless Joe and American Gods, and one of the best tween-age novels I've come across.

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 inventiv
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Joe
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 Summerl
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jeremy
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. ...more
Von
"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
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Alan
Jan 20, 2011 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who sees a touch of magic in the world
Recommended to Alan by: His more adult-oriented work
"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 m
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Joanna Vaught
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, ...more
John
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 t ...more
Don
Nov 23, 2007 Don rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who love wild adventure
While I had trouble falling into the story, the writing, as would be expected with venerable Mr. Chabon, was superb.

I read this book on the recommendation of my daughter and my wife as they both really loved the book. As a kids book goes, this thing is packed with everything that make children's literature memorable and stuffed with so much more that I hope children everywhere get the opportunity to read this book.

Using baseball as The Creation Story, Michael Chabon delightfully spins every co
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Woodge
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
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ExterminationXIII
Summerland, by Michael Chabon, is a baseball-themed novel about Ethan Feld and his friends'(Jenifer T. Rideout, Thor Wignutt, Cinquefoil the ferister, Taffy the sasquach, Cutbelly the werefox, Grim the giant, Pettipaw the wererat, and Spider-Rose the ferisher) attempt to defeat the evil Coyote (he's not a coyote, that's just his name). In this novel, Ethen starts out as a kid who is not that good at baseball and is on the worst team in Summerland. His dad loves baseball, so Ethan tries harder to ...more
Steve
Jan 02, 2008 Steve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author take a stab at writing for young adults. A very clever fantasy incorporating our ‘real’ world with a parallel one that most mere humans don’t know about, this is adventure and fantasy in brilliant colorful language and solid, interesting characters, mostly young or not human. Ethan Field, the protagonist young fellow, is wonderful as he embarks on the challenge of rescuing his father from evil Coyote, and ends up working to save the world while he’s at it. The f ...more
Sarah
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 o ...more
Helen
Yeah, it's a four, but not a tremendously enthusiastic four. This feels like a Neil Gaiman book as written by Michael Chabon. It's charming, don't get me wrong. I guess I just wasn't in the right place for it.
Miriam
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.
David Everett
Best fantasy book about baseball, faeries, zeppelins, American Indian mythology, and Sasquatch ever written.
Thom
Here is a book I wish that I had as a young adult. Michael Chabon blends baseball, Northwest Tribal lore, American tall tales, a scattering of Norse mythology, planar travel and the end of the world into a very good "coming of age" story.

Ethan's team plays on a fictional island in Puget Sound and his team is 0 for the season so far (they haven't won a game). Despite the prevailing weather in the rest of their island (and the Sound), it *never* rains at their little league ball park. This is beca
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Hannah Notess
A great summer novel and a great baseball novel and a ripping good yarn. Bonus points for being set on a mythical island in Puget Sound, Clam Island, so a perfect book for a lovely Northwest summer. Meanwhile, it's so pleasurable to read a story where, even if characters are traveling through strange lands and meeting mythical creatures, they are still characters first and foremost, and they grow and change as the story goes on (for contrast, see The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship ...more
Πέτρος
Summerland is your basic children’s adventure where some kid is summoned in a fairy land as a champion and given the task to save it from some villain. A twist is that it is supposed to do that by playing baseball instead of using magic swords or spells.

A lot of effort is given to flesh out the setting. Clam Island, the place on which the story takes place, feels very lively and memorable thanks to the numerous descriptions of how people live and work. Aesthetically speaking, I didn’t like it m
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T
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading this book. And I respect Chabon’s interest in exploring genre fiction, I really do. It’s just that there is something a little off about him when he does.
I have now read everything he has written except his book on fatherhood, which I will probably avoid. And the streak of truly inventive cleverness, the spark of ingenuity that illuminates all his writing is impressive. That is perhaps even more in evidence here than usual, as Summerlands is a book f
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Margaret
The best I can describe this is Narnia meets "Field of Dreams." Except that where Narnia has that ineffable air of England, this is pure Americana - cowboys and Indians, tall takes, the Wild West, and of course, baseball. Really it feels like parts of it should be narrated by James Earl Jones, the way he did the paean to the sport in the Field of Dreams.

Ethan Feld lives on Clam Island in Puget Sound, and hates baseball. He's the worst player on his team, though his teammates don't hate him for i
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Terry Brooks
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 ...more
Samantha

My favorite quote:
“A baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day"
(So, so, true.)

Summerland was difficult to get into, but I did enjoy it. The descriptions of baseball are great, the characters amusing, but the plot takes a while to develop and I found myself impatient while reading. The "baseball-ness" and the fantasy are well mingled, and this was great as these are two of my favorite genres.

As always, Michael Chabon pr
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Kerry
Feb 18, 2009 Kerry rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Harry Potter, of Chabon's other books
MAN I really liked this book! It was better in the middle than the end, but that's okay, that might be how I feel about all kid-goes-on-a-magical-journey, Joseph Campbell type stuff.

So! The storyline was familiar, as I already sort of alluded to above. But I didn't mind, because the writing is clever, the ideas are cute, and the characters were likeable, and not too cliche'. Most importantly, the story was FUN. Hooray for Summerland and also for baseball!

Everyone who liked Harry Potter should re
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Sally
A sprawling story, covering four different worlds and including characters such as Coyote the Trickster, Mike Fink and Paul Bunyan, and a Sasquatch, as well as others sprung from Chabon's fertile imagination. The central feature of the book, the thing that holds the universe together, is baseball. When I read books like this, it gives me a glimpse of what people love about sports. My favorite quote: “The fundamental truth: a baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you t ...more
Michael
Jul 08, 2007 Michael rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This book is marketed towards children/young adults. Unfortunately, I think it misses the boat a little bit. As a fan of Michael Chabon, I was disappointed to read this book. It seemed cluttered with ideas that weren't put together completely. There were too many holes and the dialogue left me too skeptical for me to ever enjoy reading this novel. I was also ready to finish it much sooner than it ended, at 500 pages.
Michael Brockley
SUMMERLAND by Michael Chabon is a charming but slightly flawed baseball fantasy for those people who still have one foot digging into their childhood. Perhaps starting lineups for a baseball game can convey the novel's virtues and flaws.

The Visitors: The Elysian Field White Buffalos

SS: Linda Sunshine, SHE'S ON FIRST by Barbara Gregorich
3B: Joe Hardy, THE YEAR THE YANKEES LOST THE PENNANT by Douglass Wallop
RF: Roy Hobbs, THE NATURAL by Bernard Malamud
1B: Jumbo Hank, Clerval, BRITTLE INNINGS by Mi
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Alia
This was actually the first book I read by Michael Chabon. I have to give the book props for almost making baseball mildly interesting to me. But, the plot was so complex I really couldn't get into the story. I found myself skipping pages and then ending up even more confused. Recommended for readers who like fantasy and baseball and have time on their hands. The book clocks in at 500 pages.
Kristen
Wow. So much myth combined with the magic of baseball and the ultimate American road trip...I can't think of a better book to kick off the summer and to be enjoyed by parents and teens. This is all the better for listening to the author as narrator in the car with family. Well done, Michael Chabon!
Michelle
I am a new fan of Michael Chabon and will be looking for all his future works. This books was strung together so ferociously, so fabulously, so meticulously, that I know he can bring that charm and wit to anything he writes. Amazing. Wonderful. A winner in the bottom of the ninth.
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summerland 3 32 Dec 01, 2007 06:38PM  
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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 mad ...more
More about Michael Chabon...
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay The Yiddish Policemen's Union Wonder Boys The Mysteries of Pittsburgh Telegraph Avenue

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“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.” 39 likes
“Nothing is boring exept to people who aren't really paying attention.” 39 likes
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