Book Review

Summerlong – Peter S. Beagle

Book Title: Summerlong


Author: Peter S. Beagle

Goodreads Link: Click here


Star Rating: gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star – Wonderful! Everyone should read this book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an un-biased review.



When I come back from Lyonnesse

With magic in my eyes,

All marked with mute surprise

My radiance rare and fathomless,

When I came back from Lyonnesse

With magic in my eyes!

-Thomas Hardy

Abe & Joanna are relaxing in a local restaurant they’ve been frequenting for years.  They lead quiet little lives,  in a quiet little town.  They’ve been together for ages.  Both are deep into middle age and for the most part satisfied with the life they live.  Then a new waitress appears.  She is quite simply magical. Abe quotes poetry when he sees her, and can’t stop saying “Primavera”, she inspires him to think of the painting by Botticelli. The girl is lovely, graceful and so different.  Joanna is also drawn to her and driven by a desire to protect the girl they offer her a room in their garage.

Nothing is ever the same. She inspires change in everyone and everything she meets. Flora and Fauna.  Children. Abe, Joanna and her daughter Lilly. Everything around her grows and flourishes.

This is a lovely, strange book.  What happens  when you enter into the world of myth and legends?  You certainly can’t stay the way you were.  You reach out. You try new things. It’s wonderful and terrible at the same time.

I read this book about a month ago, but I couldn’t write the review and I’m glad I didn’t.  This requires a little thought.  You need to steep in it.  The writing is lyrical and descriptive.

“When she continued, her voice sounded like the rain ruffling softly at the window, driven by a wind from accross the world, “But some, a very few, come to the gods all on their own.”

The world shifts and changes.  Ordinary things become otherworldly in an instant, and you get the feeling that it was always that way, we normal people just never saw it properly.

“They faced each other silently over the plastic bags, which in the freezing starlight semed to Lilly to be transofrming themselves into great, slow, cheese-green waves, poised to crush and drown her if she looked at them too directly.  She said at last, quietly.  “I do wish to say farewell.”

It’s a book full of visions and dreams. I didn’t appreciate it fully the first time I read it.  From what I’ve heard, this is Mr. Beagle’s gift.  He also wrote The Last Unicorn which has a reputation for loveliness and quality.  I’ve never read it, but I really need to now.

I’ll leave you with the picture of Primavera by Botticelli.  For inspiration.


Bonus Link: The Uffizi Museum’s page about Primavera – Nice information on the painting.

Song for this book:  No Frontiers by Mary Black


One thought on “Summerlong – Peter S. Beagle

  1. I have mixed feelings about Beagle. I love The Last Unicorn, but have not enjoyed other selections, such as The Innkeeper’s Song. This one might be worth a try, though.

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