by Michael Chabon | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 000712712x Global Overview for this book
Registered by drutt of Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on 5/24/2005
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by drutt from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 Review
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.

Journal Entry 2 by drutt at Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, January 06, 2006

Released 15 yrs ago (1/6/2006 UTC) at Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom



Left on a bus shelter bench.

Journal Entry 3 by JoshusDog on Monday, January 22, 2007
I found this book on 13/1//07 my 44th birthday as it happens, gathered in from the wild and coralled into the cold comfort farm of sense charity shop on Dumbarton rd. This is how I furnish all my reading material and I have a permanent libary system going with the only two charity shops that have reasonably priced books (Sense and the sally army with reasonable being 50p a book). At these prices I buy, absorb and return all my books (even chanching my arm on what turns out to be duff ones), acheive a literate education thanks to the good and genorous citizens of the pure dead cultured west end and feel good in my heart helping out valuble charitable organisations. I'd buy that for a dollar...!!.

Anyway, back to the book. I picked it up on the strength of the cover and bought it on the strength of the wonderboys that I have read and enjoyed and seen the film. I am also partial to the genre of fantasy and have enjoyed many a tale of peaseant boys/girls who turn out to be savours of world/universe/time and space itself (delete where necessary)so this should have been a win win situation. Alas no, where this should have been a nice comfy couch of a read it quickly became overstuffed with too many ideas and springs of twisted baseball metaphor plot that started digging into my pleasure from the book. I agree with 'Drutt' the metaphor does not suit a european audiance as we do not have the same mystical/historical attachment to the game that seems to be growing ever prevellant in American culture recently. Now if it had been about a football team(sorry soccer team)well....that would have probably been a different book alltogether!. I must admit quickly became distracted with all the many characters and the inventive plot as ever more fantastic things seem to happen inbetween closely fought ball games. But I bravely struggled on to the bottom of the ninth and here I am taking the walk to first base in ready for the next pitcher.............. ;)

The book goes back to the sally army farm next weekend.

p.s wheres the goddam spell checker on this?.

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