Peter S. Beagle’s fantastic SUMMERLONG is a beautiful and bittersweet read

Peter S. Beagle’s SUMMERLONG appears on two more best of the year lists.

Kat’s Top Reads of 2016 on THE TOP SHELF, the North Vancouver City Library reader’s Blog:

A novel by the author of THE LAST UNICORN, this is a great pick for fans of magical realism. It features a vivid (and relatively local!) setting and characters who feel truly real and whose growth and are wholly believable, along with a bit of mythology and magic thrown into the mix. A short but beautiful and bittersweet read. 

Included without comment on the MUSINGS FROM MAGERS

Welcome to the end of year staff picks roundup! Each fall we have a staff meeting where we have the opportunity to tell each other about the titles we’re excited to share with customers this holiday season. Some of our picks are brand new bestsellers, some are underappreciated gems, some are established perennial favorites.

Photo: Paul Todisco

A LOVELORN VIRGO enjoys her first encounter with Peter S. Beagle.

I was supposed to read Beagle’s THE LAST UNICORN first, but alas, fate has other plans for me – or rather, I found this book on Netgalley and fell instantly in love with it.

It’s been months since I finished SUMMERLONG and until today, I still don’t have the right words to describe how I feel about it. Partly enchanted, yes. Beagle’s writing seems very poetic and he’s good at evoking emotions. I love the air of mystery surrounding Lioness and enjoyed picking apart her identity in my head. Seriously, I initially had some far-fetched guesses as to who she truly was until it finally hit me, halfway through the story. It was the only answer that made sense and I was super giddy to know I was right. Since the one I’m talking about is a pretty much famous Greek figure. We encounter her in so many books and retellings, but in SUMMERLONG, she walks with the characters, talks with them, lives with them. And if you think about it, it’d be pretty cool and awesome to have someone like that under your own roof.


Overall, SUMMERLONG was fantastic though I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if Lioness didn’t mess up Abe and Joanna’s relationship, and if Lily showed at least a little resistance to Lioness’s charms. Nonetheless, Beagle’s writing style and narration were spot-on. I love the subtlety of magic, the slow unraveling of mysteries, and Abe and Joanna’s character developments. I wish to see more from this author so I’ll probably get to THE LAST UNICORN soon.

For more info on SUMMERLONG, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Magdalena Korzeniewska

Design by Elizabeth Story