Throughout the whole book, I was wondering what would happen next. It was definitely one of those books that you REALLY want to finish because you want to know how it ends but you really don’t want to finish it because then you’ll have finished it. I was slightly disappointed by the ending that’s partly because, as I said, I did not want the book to end.
The world itself is in existence already so it didn’t need much development, but Peter S. Beagle brought the nuances of northwestern Washington state to the page. The characters are well enough developed that it is easy to relate to them, even though Abe and Joanna are quite a bit older than me.
Overall, I rate SUMMERLONG 4 out of 5 bookworms.
photo by Paul Todisco
LITBUZZ awards the book 4 out of 5 stars.
I was entranced by the characters in SUMMERLONG, all of whom are complicated and well drawn. They are neither all good, nor all bad, making them relatable and realistic. My favorite was the gritty and fiercely independent Joanna, followed closely by her gentleman friend of many years, Abe. Their relationship was so comfortable and genuine, that perfect mix of trust and intimacy…seeming to be what couples should aspire to. It was a relationship to make a reader smile and nod.
Overall, the plot of the story flowed well, and the few times that my interest started to wane, I was easily drawn back in. As his fans will know, Mr. Beagle is a masterful story teller, providing rich detail and depth of feeling in almost every scene, and SUMMERLONG is no exception. For example, although I have never been to Puget Sound, I developed a very detailed image of it, and of the characters, thanks to the rich descriptions provided. I could easily picture Lioness wading into the water to converse with a baby whale, or Joanna traversing the sound with her daughter in an insignificant kayak, as they were buffeted by rain and wind. Deep themes were explored, regarding the nature and seasons of established relationships, perception of beauty, and a reverence for the environment, Mother Earth, and the natural balance of the world. So, despite my disappointment in a certain turn of events in the story, I overall found SUMMERLONG to be a satisfying read, that will no doubt captivate Mr. Beagle’s many fans, and new readers, alike.
For KIRKUS, John DeNardo includes the novel among his September Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Historical Fiction Books You Won’t Want to Miss.
SUMMERLONG by Peter S. Beagle
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Magic, in the form of an enigmatic young waitress named Lioness Lazos who possesses strange abilities, encroaches on the lives of a comfortable older couple.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This long-anticipated novel—fans have been waiting for more than a decade!—does not disappoint as it examines the nature of love and growing older.
Andrew Liptak on THE VERGE also mentions the fantasy among New Adventures: 24 of the most exciting science fiction and fantasy books coming out in September.
SUMMERLONG by Peter S. Beagle
Peter S. Beagle is best known for his novel THE LAST UNICORN, but at long last, his latest novel is here. SUMMERLONG follows Lioness, a waiter with strange abilities. She’s taken in by a family on Puget Sound, and her presence creates some profound changes in the family, all while a looming secret from her past fast approaches.
For more info on SUMMERLONG, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Magdalena Korzeniewska
Design by Elizabeth Story