I remember I started reading this book on September 23rd for significant reasons to the plot that I’ll get into later and that it took me a long time to finish. In fact, I completely forgot to write a review for this book because Summerlong is a forgettable read, and that’s a hard thing for me to say as a longtime lover of Peter S. Beagle’s work.
Summerlong follows Joanna Delvecchio and Abe Aronson, an older couple seemingly happy with the predictability of their daily lives. But when Joanna and Abe meet the strange and beautiful Lioness Lazos they’re ordinary lives become literally uprooted, affecting themselves and Joanna’s daughter Lily who falls in love with her. But who exactly is Lioness and who is she running from? Joanna, Abe, and Lily try to find this out all the while enjoying this strange woman’s company and the gorgeous summer she seemed to bring with her.
I’m going to tell you why I was interested in the book (it surprisingly wasn’t just because it was written by Peter S. Beagle) so spoilers ahead because this tidbit isn’t actually revealed until a quarter to the end of the book when the plot actually picks up and gets pretty interesting.
The book tells a story of the Persephone myth where Lioness is literally Persephone and Abe, Joanna, and Lily are the poor mortals who get involved with her and how their lives are shaped after being close to a goddess. Pretty good premise right? The problem is that this information is left a secret until the end and since I knew it going into the book it kind of made the whole thing a little blah.
It’s not that Summerlong is a bad book it’s just ordinary, and Beagle does an excellent job at writing the mundane and ordinary lives that people live. But it did make it hard to read through because I kept waiting for something exciting to happen but Summerlong just isn’t that book because that’s not what it’s about.
Three stars for Greek mythology and for being unique in the way only Beagle can write, and because Beagle is writer who makes me feel things just through words so an extra .5 for that. He’s a talented writer and even if this book wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be it will never stop me from reading his work.
Publication: September 6th 2016
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Pages: 240 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Magical Realism
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤.5
It was a typically unpleasant 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.