Summerland: A Novel

Summerland: A Novel

by Michael Chabon


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From the Pulitzer Prize winning Michael Chabon comes this bestselling novel for readers of all ages that blends fantasy and folklore with that most American coming-of-age ritual: baseball—now in a new edition, with an original introduction by the author.

Ethan Feld is having a terrible summer: his father has moved them to Clam Island, Washington, where Ethan has quickly established himself as the least gifted baseball player the island has ever seen. Ethan’s luck begins to change, however, when a mysterious baseball scout named Ringfinger Brown and a seven-hundred-and-sixty-five-year-old werefox enter his life, dragging Ethan into another world called the Summerlands. But this beautiful, winter-less place is facing destruction at the hands of the villainous Coyote, and it has been prophesized that only Ethan can save it. 

In this cherished modern classic, the New York Times bestselling, Pulitzer Prize winning author brings his masterful storytelling, dexterous plotting, and singularly envisioned characters to a coming-of-age novel for readers of all ages.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062418081
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/12/2016
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 461,514
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 9 - 11 Years

About the Author

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Moonglow and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, among many others. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.


Berkeley, California

Date of Birth:

May 24, 1963

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., University of Pittsburgh; M.F.A., University of California at Irvine

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Summerland 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book I read this already but it was so good i bought it again on my nook Only bad thing is that its very long but i think its worth it
hestia More than 1 year ago
Summerland is an amazing story filled with borrowed folklore concepts and history. The switching narratives and entwined story lines are just amazing- this is the kind of book you want to read and reread through your life. Each time you can find something else, some small joke or metaphor. Read the book- it's long but so worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Four different universes, sprouting off from the same tree of life, each one connected in rare places, where baseball rules all. In the book Summerland, Michael Chabon creates a magical world, showing you there may be more to life than you think. Summerland is a world that can only be accessed by "Changelings", are creatures that are a cross between humans and another creature, like werefoxes, werewolves, etc. A certain spot on Clam Island is where the story begins, the home of Ethan Feld, is unlike the rest of the island. On the rest of the island it rains almost constantly, but this place is connected to the Summerlands by what is called a gall, a place where two branches of the tree of life cross. Because of this there is almost no rain and the weather is always perfect. There are even magical creatures called Ferishers only reveal themselves to those who already believe in them. In this amazing story Ethan Feld is the chosen one, but chosen for what? Even he himself is not sure. But will he be able to stop the evil Coyote's plan to destroy the entire universe? And not just ours, all four of them. Ethan Feld, is the main character of the story, and not exactly a baseball fanatic. Ethan tends to be unsure of himself, terrible at baseball, and he eventually becomes the catcher of the team (though usually put in right field). He is eleven years old. Jennifer T, on the other hand, is obsessed with baseball, she is a star pitcher and is determined to have their team win at least one game this year, as the story progresses Ethan and Jennifer become better friends. finding they have more in common than they thought. Thor is a tall kid, bigger than all of the people on his team, though he's not that great at baseball. Thor believes that he is a synthetic human, saying information is stored in his "database". Thor is confused, not acting human and yet it's impossible for him to be anything else, he is too tall to be a ferisher and he doesn't look like a changeling. Summerland is an amazing and magical book. This book kept me wanting more with its clever plot twists and the questions it made me ask. I recommend this book to anyone to anyone who enjoys fantasy. I liked this book because it turned baseball into a magical thing that shaped the universe, something more than a sport. I also liked it because it's filled with excitement and action with lots of baseball in-between. I'm sure you'll enjoy this book as much as I did, pick it up at your local bookstore TODAY!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michael Chabon
Hyperion Books
Realistic and fantasy

Have you ever wondered if there is another world that is full of magic, adventure, and baseball? In the book Summer-land, by Michael Chabon, you will go to another world and play baseball, have tons of adventures, and even see a little magic. Ethan Feld is taken into a magical place called the Middling. One day, he races home from his friend, Jennifer T's., house and sees that his father is captured. He has to go into the Middling with his friends and save his dad. On top of getting his dad back, he has to save the world from ending by the evil Coyote. Will Ethan save his dad and save the world?

If you look at Ethan Feld, you will see that he is an average kid like you and me. At the beginning of the book, Ethan does not like baseball because he couldn't hit or catch the ball. Then he decided to try being the catcher which ended up working out fine. Ethan is a static protagonist and a primary character of the story. He is on a mission to save his dad with the help of his friends, Jennifer T., Taffy, Thor, Grim the Giant, Spider-Rose, and Cinquefoil (secondary characters). Ethan's father, Mr. Bruce Feld, just like Ethan, is an average man and he loves to work on experiments. Once he starts an experiment, he can not stop working and he tells himself that since he is so close, he should finish the experiment. Mr. Feld is taken to the Winter-lands and has to do an experiment for Coyote. Mr. Feld, just like Ethan, is a static protagonist and primary character. Now Coyote, on the other hand, is a dynamic antagonist and primary character. Even though you may see Coyote as a man, you also may see him as some other human/animal form. He is a very mean, bossy, and rude person or thing and get this, he wants to end the world just because he does not like how it looks and how it is today.

Summer-land is a fascinating book to read and I recommend you to read it. When I first picked up the book, the cover caught my eye. Right there I said to myself that this book held lots of mysteries and adventures. I immediately picked it up, started reading, and couldn't stop. As I was reading along, I said to myself that there were a lot of mysteries and adventures. What surprised me was that sometimes I could not put the book down and do something else. I also found out that it was about a sport, baseball, and if you know me you know that I love sports. Plus, along the way of the characters journey, I met some new characters. Those people are pretty fascinating I would say. On a scale of 1-5, I would give this book a 5. I hope you read this book and like it as much as I did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe that Summerland is a good read on a dull day. It's totally engrossing, although if you read Madeleine L'Engle's 'A Wrinkle in Time', you will see that it's plot is almost exactly the same as 'A Wrinkle in Time'. Overall, Summerland is very enlightening and opens new thoughts about the world. Wethere you like books or not, I'm pretty sure you'll like Summerland. Baseball fans will ¢¾ this book as well, since Summerland is about a boy, Ethan, and his friends Thor and Jennifer T. trying to save the world- and a few friends along the way by baseball.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, I thought the book was terrible. The plot was boring and confusing with too many one-sided characters, and events that had absolutely no effect on the outcome of the story. I also enjoy baseball, and that did not change my ideas of the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Knowing little about baseball, I was initially hesitant to buy this novel, but, after reading the first page, I was hooked. The writing is flawless, the characters are engaging, and the story flows seemlessly. What a terrific hero tale this is, with its baseball playing fairies and its oracular clam! Run! Get yourself a copy and read it out loud to everyone you know!
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantasy that is centered around baseball and trying to save Summerland - an area of an Washington state island that is sunny all summer until developers come in and it starts to rain.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summerland by Michael Chabon is a cute story with lots of baseball trivia and baseball as a metaphor for meeting the challenges of life. It is a YA story, but it is still enjoyable for adults, but not a very deep story. It holds a special charm for Pittsburghers with all the references to the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Pirates of past . . . when they actually had a respectable team.Great for casual reading with a very flowing language to it. Overall it is well worth four stars.
lscottke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A real weaving of Norse and American Northwest Indian mythology.Ethan Feld is a motherless 11-year old who shows no talent for baseball and wants to quit the team, until he is unexpectedly (and erroneously) called upon to save the Universe. Together with his friends and teammates Jennifer T. and Thor, Ethan sets out to find his kidnapped father, ¿scampering¿ into another world via Summerland, a baseball meadow that is one of the few crossing points not yet disconnected by shapeshifter Coyote in his plan to destroy the worlds of the Tree of Life. Ethan, Jennifer T., Thor and a bizarre assortment of creatures that include fairies, Sasquatch and a vertically challenged giant are pitted against the fiercest, most avid baseball players in the Universe. They play for safe passage across hostile lands in a hopeless race to reach Murmury Well before Coyote, with help from Ethan¿s hapless father, can poison the waters that sustain the Tree of Worlds.The story moves at a suspenseful pace switching between the protagonists¿ odyssey and the antagonist¿s progress. Chabon¿s writing style employs a wild mixture of humor, horror, baseball culture, nanotechnology, mythology, shamanism and tall tale to craft the plot, drawing on the rich heritage of Norse, Pacific Northwest Indian and Frontier American story telling. The length may put off younger readers, but it¿s hard to imagine a more entertaining read for a fantasy fan or a more incongruous crew of unlikely heroes. This book could make reading assignments and genre research look fun.
erinclark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Could not finish unfortunately and gave it away to the free book mobile in town. I loved, loved, loved Kavalier and Clay so I was disappointed that I could not even get through this one.
caitsm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ethan Feld, a terrible baseball player is chosen to help save the magical world, Summerland, from enemies. The only problem is, is they need a baseball star...
jlparent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ethan Feld and his motley crew of friends have to stop Ol' Coyote from ending the world. A lot of baseball (too much for me), mythology (mostly fae-related), and a bit-too-lengthy tale overall; I felt it could have been shortened a bit and been a stronger story. I lost interest a few times. I did like many of the support characters, who I felt had more heart and oomph than the main (namely Jennifer T., Cutbelly, and to a degree Thor Wignutt) character Ethan - who starts off rather whiny. As this book is technically a young adult fantasy, perhaps this is why it didn't jibe with me completely. Still, a decent enough story - I always enjoy apocalypses and myth and there is that here.
mkschoen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best I can describe this is Narnia meets "Field of Dreams." Except that where Narnia has that ineffable air of England, this is pure Americana - cowboys and Indians, tall takes, the Wild West, and of course, baseball. Really it feels like parts of it should be narrated by James Earl Jones, the way he did the paean to the sport in the Field of Dreams.Ethan Feld lives on Clam Island in Puget Sound, and hates baseball. He's the worst player on his team, though his teammates don't hate him for it, including his pal Jennifer T. Rideout, a budding pitcher. While most of their island is the typically rainy northwest, the ballfield lies in the mythical Summerland, favored by a quirk of weather to be enternally sunny and pleasant. But when things turn dark even there, Ethan is scouted by Ringfinger Brown to be a hero, working for the ferishers, or faeries. Ethan, along with his father and Jennifer, are taken to their mythical world to help fight Coyote, who is trying to end the connections between worlds, poison the great tree that supports the world, and end the Universe. It's the bottom of the ninth, last out, and Ethan and his rag-tag gang must play a host of teams on their travels to save the day.The book features a plethora of American myths and stories - including Native American lore, the tall tales of Paul Bunyan, and Sasquatch. History factors in too, but mostly as it ties to baseball, with stories of the Negro Leagues, and depictions of sport as the popular pastime of the working-class.The language can be difficult at times. Chabon has many of his characters speak a sort of faux-wild west patois that takes some getting used to. And the story can be a bit slow-moving - like baseball. But while the language can be complex, the basic story is a bit young, your basic hero's quest, through faraway lands and with faithful friends and amusing sidekicks. There are a few more complex issues dealt with: Ethan's mother died years ago, and his father never really recovered. More complex is Jennifer's story - a ne'er-do-well father and absent mother, along with racial issues (she's part Native American). Chabon touches on this all very lightly, but that might be a good way to approach the issues with younger children. The book is so closely tied to baseball that I doubt very much that a child who is not a fan of the game would enjoy it at all. I'm not sure what to do for a what to read next: Harry Potter if they haven't already read it, and fantasy fans can move on to Terry Pratchett maybe. Or "A Wrinkle in Times" maybe. Baseball kids could try Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe" or maybe some of Mike Lupica's work (no fantasy but plenty of sports).
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of a true fantasy baseball league. When Ethan's dad is kidnapped by the trickster Coyote as part of a plan to end the world, Ethan and two of his friends cross worlds and play a series of games to save the world in 9 innings.
figre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It wasn¿t until I picked up this book to start reading it that I caught an important point from the back cover - ¿Hyperion ¿ Paperbacks for Children¿ and the quote from the Today Show ¿A home run of a kids¿ story¿. Alas, in my haste to pick up another book by Chabon, I had grabbed this novel for children. But a 500-page children¿s book? It didn¿t really make sense. So I dove in to see what I would find (after all, I can still read A Wrinkle in Time and enjoy it.)My only regret is that I wish I hadn¿t known it was a children¿s book. Would I have thought it too simplistic? I doubt it. This is a very involved tale with different images around every turn. Would I have thought the writing itself ¿dumbed down¿? Maybe. But the conversations and the writing match the hero of the tale. And the one thing knowing this was a children¿s book did was make me imagine reading this out loud to kids ¿ and that was a very easy thing to imagine.At the start, I had my small quibbles. Why do all these stories start the same ¿ a misfit who has lost a parent (this time the mother) struggling in a new environment who has to go on a quest to save the remaining parent. But these quibbles disappeared quickly. Chabon has wrapped the mythos of baseball with a newly defined mythology of alternate worlds. These alternate worlds could have also slipped into cliché ¿ there¿s the requisite elfin-like creatures, and giants, and yeti, and coyote, and sometimes what seems like the kitchen sink ¿ but he never lets them act like clichés; giving them personalities that match expectations but build into more. The entire thing is wrapped in a slightly different package and, while I didn¿t warm immediately to the entire story (I think I was still put off by that whole ¿children¿s book¿ thing), I soon found myself looking forward to what new things Chabon was going to deliver in each step of the journey. And the use of baseball is what takes this over the edge ¿ makes it more than a nice little tale. The marrying of baseball with Chabon¿s alternate worlds is what makes this book work and provides humor that any baseball fan can enjoy (warning to all American League fans, Chabon is obviously not a fan of the designated hitter). The culmination is particularly effective ¿ every child¿s nightmare (that is, every child who has played baseball) is turned into the triumph that saves us all.Fun and entertaining.
DaveFragments on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Such an interesting YA novel. And it's got baseball, too.
Topper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Summerland" is a fun, original re-imagination of the cliche of "baseball mythology," where the game of baseball is the central conceit of a cosmology derived from diverse cultures. While the plot structure is recognizable--young boy is chosen against his will to save the world, and in so doing joins a motley band of misfits--the characters, tone, and style are a welcome addition to the fantasy genre. If I have one quibble with "Summerland," it's the tendency to treat ethnic characters (Native Americans, African Americans) as stereotypically attuned to the true nature or wisdom of the cosmos (if this book were optioned for a movie, Morgan Freeman watch out!). Overall, though, it's a smart, thoughtful, funny and engaging adventure for teenagers or adults.
egyarnetsky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ethan Feld is arguably the worst little leaguer in Clam Island history. Nonetheless, a mystical 100-year-old baseball scout has determined that Ethan is the chosen one! Chosen to play on a traveling all-star team? No, chosen to save the universe! On Clam Island there is a special place called Summerland where you can leap between parallel worlds. In our Summerland, developers are destroying an ancient birch forest. In the parallel Summerland the trickster Coyote is destroying the birchwood home of the ferishers, fairies who have played baseball for a millenia. Can Ethan and his friends deal with ferishers, werefoxes, bigfoot and giants to save Summerland and the world? This is a wonderfully detailed fantasy from this Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
hagertyhartfeldt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Neither Sara nor Brian could get through more than the first 50 pages or so. Though we like Chabon's adult fiction, this book is unsuccessful. The biggest problem is that the supernatural baseball playing elves at the heart of the story speak in a ridiculous, affected dialect. Who can read that?
osodani on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stopped reading this one. Very disappointing follow-up to The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
damy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Michael Chabon is probably better known for the Pulitzer Prize winning book about superheroes and golems called The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, his The Escapist comic series, and his movie (which was also a book), Wonder Boys. Every time I read a children's book, I'm reminded of how much more interesting the majority of them are in comparison to adult books. Summerland seems to be a little like Roger Zelazny (Amber series) meets J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) meets Madeline L'Engle (Wrinkle in Time) meets C.S. Lewis (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe). It's the story of 2 ordinary kids travelling through shadow to different worlds in a flying machine trying to save the world. Their companions include a werefox, a foot-high baseball-playing Indian chief, and a sasquatch named Taffy that was once the pet of a 6-story-high giant named John. Summerland is a book that you never want to end.
DCArchitect on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An intriguing mix of Beowolf, Native American lore and baseball, "Summerland" is the coming-of-age story of Ethan Feld. Many of the standard elements of this type of story are found in "Summerland" including a difficult past for Ethan as well as a search for acceptance by his father. Other characters include Ethan's friend and sidekick Jennifer T and his guide, 'Cutbelly,' a werefox.Mr. Chabon is clearly working within the 'arch-myth' framework. "Star Wars," "The Matrix," and "Harry Potter" (to a degree) are joined by "Summerland" as tales embodying the 'hero's journey.'"Summerland" is successful because Mr. Chabon is able to wrap enough of his wonderfully descriptive prose around a fantastic mixture of the otherworldly (Norse Mythology, Native American lore and Chabon's own take on the world of faerie) and the familiar (baseball, American tall tales, and the regular human experiences of growing up) to create a engaging whole.Mr. Chabon set out to write a children's book. He was only marginally successful in that endeavor. Yes, the heavier plot and more obscure vocabulary of "Kavalier & Clay" is absent and the protagonist is an 11 year old boy. That doesn't mean that many of the 11 year olds that I know would be particularly fond of "Summerland." While nothing in the book is inappropriate for an 11 year old, much of the book - in fact much of what is best about the book - would go right over their heads. The 500+ pages of interwoven plot might be a bit much too for kids to read on their own, but if you're looking for something to read outloud to your kids that won't make you want to hit your head against a wall, "Summerland" is a good choice.That isn't to say that "Summerland" isn't worth reading unless you have a collection of ankle-biters to listen. Any Chabon fan looking for something a bit lighter than "Kavalier & Clay" to read on vacation or on an airplane would certainly enjoy "Summerland."
carlym on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a story of the triumph of good over evil (always an excellent plot choice). I first read it one March when I thought the snow would never stop, and because good is warm and summer and evil is cold and winter in the book, it hit just the right note. If you don't already believe that baseball is beautiful, you probably won't like this book all that much, because baseball is central to both the plot and structure. I have read it several times, and it's been just as good each time.
hairballsrus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Aside from the mangled eighth tape of this ten tape adventure (yes, I drive a car that has a tape deck! Deal with it! :) ) I've finally listened to this book. At first, I wasn't sure if this story was for me; it's a 500+ page children's book about baseball, or in my case a 10+hour set of tapes. It's a mix of myths with Coyote as the chief mischief maker and fairies known as ferishers. There's werefoxes and wererats, werewolves and ice mice, bigfoot and big liars. Changelings and Clam Island. Not to mention Nubakaduba. And baseball. Lots and lots of baseball. Can a baseball game be played to determine the destiny of the universes? You betcha. It's the Shadowtails gainst the Hobbledehoys. But watch out. Coyote never plays fair.It turned out to be a very enjoyable adventure, causing me to drive around and around my block to finish tapes!