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The Summer Son

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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  1,070 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
When Mitch Quillen’s life begins to unravel, he fears there is no escape. His marriage and his career are both failing, and his relationship with his father has been a disaster for decades. Approaching forty, Mitch doesn’t want to become a middle-aged statistic. When his estranged father, Jim, suddenly calls, Mitch’s wife urges him to respond. Ready for a change, Mitch hea ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by AmazonEncore
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Michael
My review from the Missoula Independent:

After finishing The Summer Son, I began wandering my balcony (it's actually the roof, but I prefer to call it a balcony), wracked by two contradictory reactions at once, which, for a book reviewer, is not a good sign. My thoughts were:

1.) This is an unusually probing, terrifically paced character study;

2.) This is a hyperbolic, badly conceived novel.

I kept reminding myself that I would not begin a review on such a vague note. A few days and much balcony-wa
...more
Darcia Helle
Oct 22, 2010 Darcia Helle rated it it was amazing
Craig Lancaster is the master of character-driven fiction. His writing feels effortless, though I know it's anything but. From the very first page, I was pulled into the world of Mitch Quillen, a man whose troubled relationship with his father has clouded every aspect of his adult life. He searches for answers, confronting his father and reliving his past. I was swept along with him, pulled by the power of Lancaster's words.

This book will make you feel and make you care. To the very last page -
...more
Andrea
Jun 02, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina
Dec 31, 2010 Christina rated it it was amazing
I guess I will start with WOW!!! I normally read vampire/supernatural books. This has none of that in it and yet held my attention just as intently. I couldnt help but be amazed at the quality of writing in this novel. While there are skips through time it is all clearly defined so you can keep up. The charcters who are so wonderfully written reveal things to you at just the right pace to keep you intrigued and involved in the story. You come to care and grow attached to these charcters the more ...more
Jim Thomsen
Jan 09, 2011 Jim Thomsen rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fred
May 31, 2016 Fred rated it really liked it
This is a well-constructed story of a conflicted man's attempt to make peace with his troubled past. The drama centers on his estrangement from a father who has been absent--both emotionally and, for the past 28 years, physically. Recognizing that this fractured relationship has played a hand in his marital difficulties, Mitch uses an out-of-the-ordinary few phone calls from his father as justification to put his own emotional house in order. Mitch flies out to confront his father with demands f ...more
Brigi
Very confused about what to think of this novel even days after finishing it.

On the one hand, it's well-written, the past and present narrations blending very well. On the other hand... sensationalism and bad parallels.

I really like the narration, especially the parts from 1979 - the author caught child Mitch's voice well, and evoked that era easily. It makes you want to read it in one sitting, it's so interesting. There's always that sense to find out more, and unravel what happened between Mi
...more
Helen
Feb 04, 2011 Helen rated it it was amazing
The Summer Son by Craig Lancaster, is about a man, Mitch Quillen, who decides he must settle things from his past in order to save his future. To do that, he’ll have to go back to confront his father and, if not make peace, then at least understand and accept the man that he ran away from.

The Summer Son is one of those books you might describe as an “onion.” It has many layers and bit by bit, the layers are peeled away down to the heart of the story.

Jim, the father in the story, is at times so
...more
Helene
Feb 18, 2011 Helene rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of fiction I like.

It was fate for me to pick up "The Summer Son" and read it when I did. I gobbled up the whole book in 2-3 days because it was so riveting. The storyline, albeit about a father-son relationship that's been tense for many years, spoke to my own current life situation so much.

Most importantly, the protagonist, Mitch, was very realistic, and not annoying (I've had my share of fiction with annoying protagonists in the past 2 years+). I could empathize with his inter
...more
Marie
Jan 09, 2014 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine, read-in-2014
I got The Summer Son for my Kindle because the trial pages sounded good to me and I wanted to know what happens. It took me over 6 weeks to finish this book which doesn't mean it's bad, just that up until about the middle, it was possible to put it aside and read something else for a while and I did this frequently. The second half was less easily put aside and I really liked when all the sercets were revealed. It's a good story about family and dark pasts but I will not go into a huge rant abou ...more
Hal
Jul 12, 2013 Hal rated it really liked it
Shelves: 13-reads, gen-fiction
This was a compelling read about relationships and what destroys them and what renews them. The narrative was well done and riveting. The plot well-conceived for the most part. Two things dropped it from five stars to four for me. 1) In my view the sexual vulgarity and profanity were overdone and gratuitous and added nothing to the story in several instances. The story and plot could have been well served with a few less twists in the last 25 pct. of the book. All in all, though, it was a very s ...more
Maggie Doerle
Jun 23, 2013 Maggie Doerle rated it it was amazing
Yes. Craig Lancaster is on my list of favorite authors. After reading the two Edward books it would have been easy for this book to disappoint. Let me say, it does not!!!! Far from it. It plumbs the depths of the human heart: the secrets, the pain, the shame, the rage, the love, the heartbreak that all of us carry within us. How easy it is to judge, to make assumptions. How painful it is to find the truth. Although this centers around a father/son relationship, it could be any relationship, howe ...more
Jess
Apr 16, 2015 Jess rated it liked it
This seemed to be a man's book written by a man about men. Which was unusual and refreshing. I liked exploring a father-son relationship. I liked how it was understood to be fundamental to the rest of the son's relationships. I liked the realistic wife and the ways she supported him. I might have stopped half way without the suspense and the mystery, the writing quality did not draw me on. But then it wrapped up neatly, not too neatly, and i was glad I finished.
Audrey Gibson
Jun 22, 2016 Audrey Gibson rated it it was amazing
This is the third book I have read by this author within a few days. Totally different from the others but just as amazing. I read it within a day as I couldn't put it down. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Another must read.
Jason
Aug 04, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
Ouch.
Sharon Thrasher
Mar 06, 2016 Sharon Thrasher rated it it was amazing
did NOT see that ending coming! great bittersweet book with a great way to bring understanding the journey at the end!
Colette
Jun 10, 2013 Colette rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Loved it..I give it four and a half stars..I felt like getting up and applauding when I finished. So raw and real and poignant. Hoping to read a lot more by this author in the future.
Jonathan
Oct 15, 2010 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
. . . one word: real . . .
Diane Ritter
Dec 27, 2016 Diane Ritter rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Farrow
May 16, 2017 Karen Farrow rated it it was amazing
Having read and loved Craig's other books (the Edward series) I was delighted to be back in Billings, Montana once more. I was searching initially for glimpses of Edward to no avail. However the book took me over. I became completely embroiled in the life of Mitch and his father and their somewhat troubled relationship. The story weaves some unpleasant threads thoughout the story and at time I really did not like certain characters. However the explanations for their behaviour did become apparen ...more
Nenette
Feb 24, 2017 Nenette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For many stories, the ending is a giveaway (without the author intending to). I'm not one to pretend to say that I've deduced the story, and I'll admit that this one kept me guessing.

Told in the first person by the summer son himself, the story is as much about the father. Hurt by his father suddenly cutting his vacation short and sending him home (plus a host of other things that came before), a big gap grew between them, more widened by their physical distance and the twice a year phone calls.
...more
Maryann
Mar 02, 2011 Maryann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes a good mainstream novel about relationships.
The Summer Son
Craig Lancaster
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: AmazonEncore (January 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935597248
ISBN-13: 978-1935597247


Craig Lancaster has a knack for exploring relationships on all levels, and The Summer Son does that as well as any book out there.

Mitch Quillen has had a rocky relationship with his father that has dwindled into two phone calls a year and maybe two visits in 25 years. All of a sudden his father, Jim, starts calling frequently but won't say wh
...more
Page (One Book At A Time)
Oct 18, 2010 Page (One Book At A Time) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011

Lancaster's debut novel 600 Hours of Edward was one of my favorite books of 2009. So, needless to say, I was more than happy to review his sophomore effort.


Lancaster creates characters that you can identify with. Mitch is no exception. I really felt his struggle with is wife and his battle to try to figure out the best way to save his marriage. I also felt his struggle with himself and the things he's burried so deep even he's not sure what exactly they are. But most of all, I really felt his s
...more
Elsa
Mar 04, 2011 Elsa rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, tear-jerker
Rate: 4/5

Favorite Quote: "You love them, don't you?".."I do." "You hang on, then. You hang on, and don't let go."

Cover: Not that amusing.

The Summer Son, by Craig Lancaster, is a story about Mitch Quillen, a husband, father, and son who finds himself struggling in all aspects of his life, including work. Mitch, raised by his divorced mother and hurt by his childhood memories of his summer vacations with his father, has gone on with life and left aside his past, until his father has reaches out t
...more
Deborah Gray
Jun 02, 2012 Deborah Gray rated it really liked it
I picked this up last year when it was in its ARC stage (Advance Reader Copy) so it was free. IMO, the cover is less than inspired, making no attempt to lure me into its pages, and the novel languished on my bookshelf for a few months.

When I decided to read it this week, it took me two days to finish it during which I could hardly put it down. Pacing, style, dialogue and story were all well-executed and every bit as good as any mainstream novel from a big publishing house. Originally, I assumed
...more
Charley
Oct 29, 2012 Charley rated it really liked it
Mitch is your average late 30s man, wife, two young children, but with problems at home. One week, he starts getting calls from his father who he’d been largely estranged from, save for the funeral of his mother. These calls are short, and usually end with his father insisting that the calls were for “nothing important” and hanging up. At the insistence of his wife, at first to give him a break from the environment at home, and later, to solve the mystery of why his father is calling and hanging ...more
Sam
Mar 24, 2014 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Mitch receives some confusing phone calls from his Dad Jim and decides to visit him in Montana to find out what's wrong. They've had a difficult relationship since 1979; Mitch's parents were divorced and he would spend every summer with his Dad and older brother Jerry who worked for him. During that fateful summer Mitch was sent home early by Jim and it has affected their father son relationship ever since, by the end of the story we know the reason why. The story moves betwe
...more
Marty Beaudet
Feb 29, 2012 Marty Beaudet rated it really liked it
This was an ordinary story in many ways: a son of divorced parents, spending the summer with his dad, growing up in the process. It's juxtaposed with the adult son returning to assist a now enfeebled father and probing for answers to the questions that were raised during that summer so long ago. Therein lies the mystery. It's not earthshattering in the cosmic sense. It has no universal implications. It is, at heart, a human interest story. The storytelling is so smooth that one gets the sense it ...more
Lisa
Jan 01, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Mitch Quillen doesn't have all that much going for him right now. His relationship with his wife is going through some tough times, his job isn't going any better, and his relationship with his dad is non-existent. Then out of the blue, his dad begins calling, but they never say much to each other and hang-up.

So begins the story of an adult son seeking out the answers to his struggles with his dad and why their relationship is non-existent. What you will find out with this book is that is a dar
...more
Barbara
Jan 12, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
I won this book through Goodreads and received an autographed copy - which was a great surprise. Not sure if I would've picked this book up if I had seen it in the book store, but was really glad that I had the opportunity to read it. Was an excellent read, quick and easy, but it certainly gave the reader a lot to think about as far as father/son relationships and how children perceive their parents - what they "think" they know versus what was real. How easy it is for a child to make judgements ...more
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When Craig Lancaster moved to Montana in 2006, at the age of 36, it was the realization of a dream he’d harbored since childhood, one that he figured had been overtaken by events, as so many dreams are.

“I have these incredibly vivid memories of visiting Montana with my folks on family vacations, and following my dad, an itinerant laborer who worked in the oil and gas fields of the West when I was
...more
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“There's a saying about ranch women. When they're 30, they look 50. When they're 80, they look 50.” 1 likes
“For everything I wished were different about the old man, I found comfort in just as many things that never changed.” 1 likes
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