Peter S. Beagle’s SUMMERLONG is absolutely beautiful
Three fresh reviews of Peter Beagle’s masterful SUMMERLONG, including one for Magdalena Korzeniewska’s beautiful cover, and an new essay by Beagle.
Photo by Rina Weisman
Peter Beagle crafted an essay about SUMMERLONG for POWELL’S BOOKS.
I never know how long a book or a story is going to take me to write. My first novel, A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE, took me a year, starting in the summer when I was a music counselor at a children’s camp and ending the following September, when I left for the requisite young-writer-wandering-Europe year. I SEE MY OUTFIT — an account of a 1963 motorscooter voyage from New York City to Palo Alto with my lifelong painter friend Phil Sigunick — took five or six months, and was probably the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book. I started THE LAST UNICORN in the summer of 1962, and published it in 1968. It only seemed to take forever — I still think of it as an endless nightmare of revision, and would never have imagined it becoming the book known by people who don’t know I ever wrote anything else. The Folk of the Air took 18 years, and four complete rewrites, on and off. I don’t talk about it much. And my favorite, THE INNKEEPER’S SONG, was plotted in India, during siestas, and seems to have flown to completion back in the States. That’s the one I still reread — not The Last Unicorn — during the bad days, when I’m convinced that I’ll never again write a sentence that can possibly mean anything to any human being. I’m glad of that book, for a lot of reasons.
But SUMMERLONG… I lived on an island once.
At POP CULTURE BEAST, JL Jamieson loves the novel.
Beagle is a master of fairytale, deftly creating a gossamer magic on the page. SUMMERLONG is a tale that merges classic myth with modern storytelling. Absolutely beautiful. Saying anything more would give away the story, and I’d never want to ruin such a lovely read for anyone.
Richard Dansky at THE GREEN MAN REVIEW likes the book.
Peter S. Beagle’s latest, SUMMERLONG is an exercise in masterful, hopeful heartbreak. Deeply steeped in mythology yet relentlessly modern (if a bit sentimental), it tackles the big questions of love, compromise, dreams, and what you might do – or forgive – in the face of the sublime.
Savvy readers will figure out pretty quickly the mythological underpinnings of Beagle’s story, which roles Lioness and her husband play and by extension, those filled by Joanna and Abe. And yet Beagle doesn’t have the characters retrace the roles laid out for them by Hesiod, strolling to the same old conclusions. Can the book be nitpicked? Probably. The author’s voice is prominent in the dialog, which can be jarring if you’re reading it naturalistically. If, however, you are reading it as modern myth, as a story told by a storyteller directly to an audience, then those foibles drop away.
Is SUMMERLONG a cheerful or light read? Not in the slightest, and there are moments that are wrenching. The journey, however, is more than worth it, a descent into an underworld of the soul and, hopefully, an ascent back into a new and different light.
The German language MOYAS BUCHGEWIMMEL reviews Magdalena Korzeniewska’s cover.
The new cover of the week is decorated with an illustration of the Polish artist Magdalena Korzeniewska who starts her drawings with gel pens and then digitally perfected. How exactly perfecting her of equip goes I do not know, but that is in such a beautiful result even care. When you get closer into the picture zoomed sees the countless small dots and lines that remind me a bit of Van Gogh if I’m honest. The dark lines give the illustration in any case an interesting and bustling base for gentle earth tones and subtle contrasts in color. And look at these many individual strands of hair on!
(Translated from German by Google)
For more info on SUMMERLONG, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Magdalena Korzeniewska
Design by Elizabeth Story
For more info on A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Ann Monn