A review of Peter S. Beagle's Summerlong

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Peter S. Beagle's Summerlong will be published by Tachyon Publications in September 2016.

Information about Peter S. Beagle:

Peter S. Beagle is the best-selling author of The Last Unicorn, which has sold a reported five million copies since its initial publication in 1968. His other novels include A Fine & Private Place, The Innkeeper's Song, and Tamsin. His short fiction has been collected in four volumes by Tachyon Publications, including The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche, The Line Between, We Never Talk About My Brother, and Sleight of Hand. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire awards and the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Click here to visit his official website.

Information about Summerlong:

Beloved author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) returns with this long-anticipated new novel, a beautifully bittersweet tale of passion, enchantment, and fate.

It was a typically miserable Puget Sound winter before the arrival of Lioness Lazos. An enigmatic young waitress with strange abilities, when the lovely Lioness comes to Gardner Island even the weather takes notice.

As an impossibly beautiful spring leads into a perfect summer, Lioness is drawn to a complicated family. She is taken in by two disenchanted lovers - dynamic Joanna Delvecchio and scholarly Abe Aronson - visited by Joanna's previously unlucky-in-love daughter, Lily. With Lioness in their lives, they are suddenly compelled to explore their deepest dreams and desires.

Lioness grows more captivating as the days grow longer. Her new family thrives, even as they may be growing apart. But lingering in Lioness's past is a dark secret - and even summer days must pass.


Summerlong is the long-awaited new novel by Peter S. Beagle, who is the well-known and respected author of The Last Unicorn, A Fine and Private Place, and The Folk of the Air. It's a touching and enchanting novel filled with quiet beauty and tender magic.

I'm glad I had an opportunity to read Summerlong, because it's one of the best literary speculative fiction novels of the year. I consider it to be something magical for those who love well-crafted literary stories, because it exceeded my expectations and surprised me with its beauty. It turned out to be an extremely rewarding reading experience.

Summerlong is a fairy-tale kind of a novel - a literary fantasy novel - for thinking adults who are fascinated by myths, because it's a modern take on the Persephone and Hades myth. It's a captivatingly gentle yet rich blend of reality and myth with an evocative atmosphere.

I think it's good to emphasise Summerlong is not a novel for those who rush through stories and want quick resolutions, because it's a thoughtful and thought-provoking meditation on life, love, loss, passion and friendship. If you rush through it, you'll miss out on a lot and won't get much out of it. This novel has been written for readers who love to think about things and let the story's atmosphere seep into them.

Here's a bit of information about the story:

- The events take place on Gardner Island in the northwestern USA. Gardner Island is a ferry ride away from the coast.

- Lioness Lazos is a young waitress. She is new in town and doesn't have a place of her own. When Joanna Delvecchio and Abe Aronson meet her at the Skyliner Diner, they invite her to join them and are curious about her. Suddenly Joanna invites her to stay in Abe's garage and she accepts the offer. When Lioness moves into the garage, she has an enchanting effect on their life and things begin to change...

This is the beginning of a story that has a feel of myth and magical realism to it. As the bittersweet story begins to unfold, the author beautifully describes what happens to the characters and how their lives change because of Lioness.

The characterisation is delightfully deep and fluent. It was enjoyable to read how the author wrote about Lioness, because he described her as a charmingly mysterious and gorgeous young woman of Greek birth who had her own secrets.

I also liked the way the author wrote about Joanna and Abe, because they were described as a non-married middle-aged couple who had experienced a lot and had a mildly complicated relationship. They had found their own way of being happy and content, but had their ups and downs. Their life seemed to change and bloom during Lioness' stay at their place, because they found themselves wanting to explore their passions.

Lily, Joanna's daughter, was also an interesting character, because she was taken by Lioness and her appearance. Joanna and Lily had a realistic relationship, because the author depicted their mother-daughter relationship well.

What's best about the characterisation is that all of the characters are normal people who are flawed in their own ways. None of them is perfect. This is great, because it's interesting to read about real people who have their own problems and try to cope with their lives.

This novel has an intriguing sense of mystery to it, because Lioness seems to be worried about something and strange things happen around her. This adds fascination to the storyline and makes readers curious about who Lioness really is and why she acts the way she does.

There's much to enjoy in this novel, because it's full of tiny details. It was great that the author explored relationships in a captivating way without any kind of hurry, because it created a splendid atmosphere. I also want to mention that I found some of the dialogues and characters' thoughts to be gently amusing and witty. The dialogues between Joanna and Abe were excellent.

One of the main reasons why Summerlong is a good novel is that Peter S. Beagle writes beautiful prose. I like his way of writing naturally about the island and the characters. He easily evokes a sense of time and place, and gradually adds tiny bits of magic and wonder to the story to make it compelling. His prose shines with bittersweetness and intimacy.

Peter S. Beagle's Summerlong is such a marvellously written and touching novel that fans of literary fantasy simply can't afford to miss it. It's a masterpiece of subtle storytelling that enchants you with its beauty and wistfulness. I recommend this novel to everyone who enjoys literary fiction and loves gradually unfolding stories.

Highly recommended!