Summerland: A Novel Audiobook | Michael Chabon | Audible.com
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Summerland: A Novel | [Michael Chabon]

Summerland: A Novel

It's summer, and the Clam Island fairies, or "ferishers," as the North American Fair Folk call themselves, are in grave peril. War is coming, another battle in an ancient conflict, a struggle against the Fell Smith and his power of Anti-life. He and his host of demon engineers, kobolds, and warriors have sought to destroy the fairies since time began. When the Clam Island band sends for a champion, they get an 11-year-old boy named Ethan Feld.
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Publisher's Summary

This novel, by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is a wondrous tale of magic, fairies, growing up, heroism, and baseball. Michael's Chabon's "vague dreams" of being a writer began when he was reading J.R.R. Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander. His latest book (a fantasy for all ages) is set against a background of American myth.

It's summer, and the Clam Island fairies, or "ferishers," as the North American Fair Folk call themselves, are in grave peril. War is coming, another battle in an ancient conflict, a struggle against the Fell Smith and his power of Anti-life. He and his host of demon engineers, kobolds, and warriors have sought to destroy the fairies since time began. When the Clam Island band sends for a champion, they get an 11-year-old boy named Ethan Feld.

Ethan hates baseball and wants to quit his losing team, the Beavers. Jennifer T. Rideout loves baseball and won't let him quit. As the two are tested, various characters and places figure in the action: "werefoxes", Indians and Indian mythology, sasquatches, "wendigos", Alaska, and the haunted, 161-year-old husk of George Armstrong Custer. A widower's heart heals as his airship conquers the northern sky. A burned-out Colombian slugger finds redemption. Jennifer T. turns out to be a champion, too, and Ethan becomes who he is: a changeling, a hero, and even a man.

©2007 Michael Chabon; (P)2007 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"In his debut novel for young readers, Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon...hits a high-flying home run, creating a vivid fantasy where baseball is king....Images of the icy Winterlands and beasts like the werefox and Taffy the motherly Sasquatch recall C.S. Lewis's Narnia and some of Philip Pullman's creations in His Dark Materials. Devotees of the genre and of America's pastime will find much to cheer here." (Publishers Weekly)

“Chabon performs with the finesse of an accomplished actor, adding the energy and enthusiasm that come of knowing everything about his characters. As he blends the idea of interchangeability between humans and animals found in American Indian, African-American, and European folklore with baseball and contemporary life, Chabon hits a grand slam with this spirited, unsentimental mythology for our time.” (AudioFile)

“…sprawling, infinitely complex fantasy…meticulously created alternative worlds; detail-laden descriptions of imaginary flora and fauna; and a cast of characters, fantastical and otherwise, who possess a bedrock humanity that draws us to them.” (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (177 )
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4.0 (58 )
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  •  
    A Reader Chapel Hill, NC 03-24-07
    A Reader Chapel Hill, NC 03-24-07 Member Since 2006
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    "Unforgettable characters!"

    This was a wonderful reading by Michael Chabon of his novel. In it, he spins not only an imaginative and exciting story but he introduces his readers to several unforgettable characters whose charm, depth, and struggles reach beyond the conclusion of the novel. I will never forget Ethan Feld, his fear of baseball, and the weekly breakfasts he shared with his father of badly made flannel cakes; Jennifer T. Rideout, with her three gigantic, recliner-entrenched grandmothers, her baseball cap with her shiny black ponytail pulled through the hole, and her insistence on being called Jennifer T.; and Taffy the Sasquatch whose forlorn but wise voice first rises from a pile of black fur inside a giant's birdcage and who bemoans the misnomer of "Big Foot" for her species as she points out that her feet are of proportional size for her body. Chabon's descriptions leads us through his story with such clarity that I felt as if I saw for myself the ferishers' tiny, flying buses hurtling across the beach carrying the farisher baseball teams toward the field and Ethan Feld's father's great invention—the Zepalina-as it meandered through the cloudless sky above Summerland. This is book exemplifies a truly North American myth and fantasy drawn from Native American mythology as much as from actual history of the U.S. and baseball and combining them into a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar to our own.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Austin, TX, USA 10-27-07
    Lynn Austin, TX, USA 10-27-07
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    "Can a baseball game save the universe?"

    Fantasy and baseball? An odd combination to be sure, but Chabon pulls it off. I've passed this book up at least five times because of the baseball connection (I am not a fan of the sport.) Finally, I chose to listen because of my husband's love of The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Chabon's Pulitzer winner from a few years back.

    Summerland wasn't anything I expected, and I loved every minute of it. The story is sunny and fun and makes you remember being a kid on a warm, green summer day. I still don't like baseball, but I can appreciate a great story.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Encinitas, CA, USA 07-29-07
    Brian Encinitas, CA, USA 07-29-07 Member Since 2009
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    "Magical and Wonderful"

    My wife read this book first and fell in love with it. So, I gave it a try (even though it's not my favorite genre). It was love at first listen. I took a month to finish it because I didn't want it to end.

    The author gives a simply amazing narration. He is among the top narrators I have ever heard. He perfectly captured each of the wonderful characters and instilled in them their unique personalities (as possibly only an author could do).

    Summerland is filled with love and wisdom. And on top of that, it's an incredibly fun read.

    My highest ratings.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John chicago, IL, USA 03-08-07
    John chicago, IL, USA 03-08-07 Member Since 2007
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    "the hero's journey (around the diamond)"

    the meandering quality of chabon's tale isn't unlike the the long pace of a baseball game, but that's kind of his point. he packs a whole lot of world mythology into the yarn, much of which will be lost on the younger listener, but what fun way to be introduced to coyote, the world tree, apple lawn (avalon) and ragged rock (ragnarok), among so many others. the story sometimes gets a bit too clever for its own good, but chabon always returns to the center of his heroes' quests. and it's true, the author gives a pretty great read.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Merlyns Daughter N.Y. USA 10-15-12
    Merlyns Daughter N.Y. USA 10-15-12 Member Since 2009
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    "One of my favorites"
    If you could sum up Summerland in three words, what would they be?

    .


    Any additional comments?

    I fell in love with this book and listen to it every couple of years. It reminds me of the way The Chronicles of Narnia made me feel when I was a kid. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I found myself thinking of the game more as a way of life as the book continued

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Jonathan Newman Guelph, Ontario Canada 07-22-07
    Dr. Jonathan Newman Guelph, Ontario Canada 07-22-07 Member Since 2005
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    "Fantanstic book!"

    A wonderful fantasy, this book is at once an epic adventure, a coming of age story, a battle between good and evil, and a meditation on baseball. Chabon is a fantastic writer of great fiction, and the Summerland won't disappoint. And, surprisingly, Chabon is also an excellent narrator! My 13 year old son adored this book and so did I.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kim brookline, MA, United States 12-12-13
    kim brookline, MA, United States 12-12-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Warning: This is for kids!"
    What made the experience of listening to Summerland the most enjoyable?

    I didn't realize this was a kid novel. I have read his other books and liked them. This one is not for me.


    Would you recommend Summerland to your friends? Why or why not?

    If you are a kid..yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 04-13-13
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 04-13-13 Member Since 2010
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    "The DH rule IS ruining the world."
    Would you listen to Summerland again? Why?

    I wil definitely listen to 'Summerland' again. It is a heart-warming story about being a kid and growing up. Even though I am not the biggest baseball fan, I still really enjoyed this book I was surprised by just how much I liked listening to 'Summerland', especially to while sitting in the un.


    What other book might you compare Summerland to and why?

    'Summerland' reminded me, slightly, of a kinder and gentler 'Talisman' by Stephen King. Both are coming of age stories of young boys who et out on a fantastical adventure to save the Universe and one of their parents.


    What about Michael Chabon’s performance did you like?

    I felt that Chabon did a wonderful job as the narrator. Unlike some people, I usually enjoy it when the author reads his own work. It seems to me that Chabon would know better than anyone else the tone and cadence of the story. While not an actor, Chabon does a fairly good job with the different voices and emotions of he characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    In the start of the book it was as if Chabon had crawled inside of my head and pulled out my exact thoughts, feelings, and reactions toward baseball when I was a kid. Much like Ethan, I almost never took the bay off of my shoulders while in the batters box. Players on the other team, as well as mine, would make fun of me, just the way they did with Ethan. It was really quite errie just who spot on Chabon described what I thought to be a solitary experience.


    Any additional comments?

    While the books is aimed at the "young adult" audience, it is a delightful story of any age. Baseball lover or not, I think this is a great listen on a summer afternoon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Belanger Las Vegas, NV 10-14-12
    R. Belanger Las Vegas, NV 10-14-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Designated Hitter: Unintended Consequences"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I know a many people who would like this very much--some of them children!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Summerland?

    When Jennifer T and Ethan find that the old hotel and much of the foliage have been torn down by the builders. We often mourn nice, new things that are torn down for progress--but there is a comfort in old things, old memories, old ways that can be tragically torn by progress for progress' sake.


    Which character – as performed by Michael Chabon – was your favorite?

    Jennifer T was my favorite character. If I had read this as a child--my life would have been very different because of her!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many instances of unconditional love--people doing things for others--not for themselves. Not much literature has selflessness in it.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a delight to hear the characters as Chabon imagined them as he wrote the book. A gem, a fine summer read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Spicewood, TX, United States 08-13-12
    Debbie Spicewood, TX, United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2011

    spiritseeker

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    "Interesting concept"

    The book was based on an interesting concept but it was pretty far out there

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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