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Summerland

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  9,669 Ratings  ·  1,004 Reviews
Summerland is the story of a young hero on a quest through the strange world of the American Faery. This is a fantasy for readers of all ages, set against the background of the American myth. The Clam Island fairies are in grave peril. War is coming, another battle in an ancient conflict. When the band sends for a champion, they get an 11 year-old boy named Ethan Feld. He ...more
Hardcover, 500 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Turtleback Books (first published 2002)
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Neil
May 22, 2011 Neil rated it really liked it
(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
...more
Benjamin Duffy
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 inventiv
...more
Joe
Jan 28, 2008 Joe rated it liked it
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
...more
jeremy
Sep 07, 2010 jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Alan
Nov 27, 2010 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Lisa Vegan
May 19, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans, kids' lit fans
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.
Von
May 15, 2008 Von rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
"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
...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
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
Tiffany
Mar 29, 2012 Tiffany rated it really liked it
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 t ...more
Joanna Vaught
Jul 21, 2010 Joanna Vaught rated it it was ok
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
Woodge
Apr 15, 2008 Woodge rated it did not like it
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
...more
Mattia Ravasi
Sep 07, 2016 Mattia Ravasi rated it it was amazing
Featured in my Top 20 Books I Read in 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X6OQ...

Is Michael Chabon the most American American who ever lived?
Probably, for a variety of reason; and Summerland is indeed the most American fairy tail ever told. Read it if you like baseball, or America, or Michael Chabon, but especially if you like baseball.
Robert
Mar 12, 2017 Robert rated it did not like it
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, ...more
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 it was amazing
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
Don
Oct 28, 2007 Don rated it really liked it
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
...more
Terry Brooks
Nov 11, 2010 Terry Brooks rated it it was amazing
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
Teague
Feb 07, 2015 Teague rated it really liked it
It's been a few days, and I'm still not quite sure what I think of this book. It's long, and I finished it, so I suppose that's a good sign. It made me want to love baseball (like I had just finished watching "Field of Dreams").

UPDATE: From a few months on, I can say that I enjoyed it and have fond memories of it.

I do have one [minor] gripe, though: Edwin Schrödinger's point with his famous cat example is that a thing *cannot* be both alive and dead at the same time -- the cat is either alive or
...more
Kerry
Jan 15, 2009 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
April Kyle Nassi
May 19, 2009 April Kyle Nassi rated it it was amazing
I miss baseball.
David Everett
Jun 06, 2013 David Everett rated it it was amazing
Best fantasy book about baseball, faeries, zeppelins, American Indian mythology, and Sasquatch ever written.
Miriam
Oct 16, 2007 Miriam rated it really liked it
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.
Petros
Aug 29, 2012 Petros rated it it was ok
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
...more
Mike
Jun 19, 2017 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, kindle-books, ya
A really fun book. I'm pretty sure 11 year old me would have absolutely loved it. Plot reminded me of A Wrinkle In Time (unpopular misfit kid and pal go on adventure to rescue a parent with help from mysterious and mythological creatures) but much longer with lots of baseball thrown in the mix. I didn't like it as much as A Wrinkle in Time mainly because I didn't find the baseball stuff all that interesting but it was still a really good book. If you've got a kid in your life who plays little le ...more
T
Jul 04, 2012 T rated it liked it
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
...more
Darcy
Mar 14, 2017 Darcy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little bit of the Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Magic Treehouse... blended with mythology, fantasy, and a lot of baseball...this is a Young Adult novel written in Chabon's clever style that I love so much. The writing seems more mature than the intended audience and yet the story felt a bit too juvenile for a mature reader. I recommend reading this book slowly to savor the writing.
Margaret
Sep 14, 2010 Margaret rated it liked it
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
...more
Vinayak Kumar
Apr 07, 2015 Vinayak Kumar rated it really liked it
Summerland, a fantasy novel by Michael Chabon, tells the tale of Ethan Feld, an awful baseball player, who, ironically, is forced to save the world by playing baseball. In a universe of multiple dimensions, dead baseball players, and tribal midgets, Ethan must shove his mediocrity to the side and get ready to play ball.
Overall, Summerland was an excellent book. It showed that people should face their fears and follow their dreams. Chabon made Ethan a likeable character that the reader sympathize
...more
Hannah Notess
Sep 03, 2012 Hannah Notess rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, northwest
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
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summerland 3 35 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
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“Nothing is boring exept to people who aren't really paying attention.” 50 likes
“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.” 49 likes
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