Peter S. Beagle’s exceptional SUMMERLONG is charmingly quiet yet deeply thoughtful

photo by Paul Todisco

At FANTASY FACTION, Richard Bray praises Peter Beagle’s new novel SUMMERLONG.

Like a warm summer afternoon, Peter S. Beagle’s upcoming novel, SUMMERLONG, is charmingly quiet yet deeply thoughtful, with an ambiance that will keep readers spellbound to the final page.


Beagle, of course, is best-known for THE LAST UNICORN, his 1968 publication widely considered one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written. For readers who loved THE LAST UNICORN, SUMMERLONG is a very different story, even as it proves that Beagle remains just as talented at turning a phrase and telling a story.

SUMMERLONG relies upon Beagle’s literary mastery for its success. The setting on a small island outside of Seattle becomes an extra protagonist to the story as our characters conduct their day-to-day lives. From the fish markets of Seattle to the quiet peace of island life, Beagle paints a vivid picture of the community in which these characters live, and sets the foundation for the changes he will visit upon them.


It’s Beagle’s exceptional writing skill that makes SUMMERLONG worth reading, if for no other reason than to immerse yourself in his prose, his characters, and his world. It’s a strange novel, blending the monotony of day-to-day living with the world of myths and legends, and even in the spots where it is uplifting, you can’t help but catch a hint of sadness and melancholy, as the choices that allow the characters to find new joys or ease their pain bring entirely new problems. In the end, it’s hard to say whether Abe and Joanna’s chance meeting with a character from Greek myth served them well or ill. I’m certain different readers will come to different conclusions, and for a well-written, thoughtful story such as this, that’s half the fun.

For the meme It’s Monday! What Are YOU Reading?, THE WRITERLY READER mentions SUMMERLONG.

I’m over halfway through SUMMERLONG by Peter S. Beagle and *just* getting the myth aspects. Well, it has been 20 years since my last Classics class.

For more info on SUMMERLONG, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Magdalena Korzeniewska

Design by Elizabeth Story