Author: Peter S. Beagle
Published by: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: 30th September 2016
Genres: Literary Fiction, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Source: Advanced reading copy from the publisher.
Summerlong is the story of Abe and Joanna; a middle aged couple living near Seattle between their two homes. The story starts when they meet the mysterious and beautiful (seriously, she's likened to Botticelli's Primavera on multiple occasions) Lioness Lazos, who is the newest waitress at their favourite restaurant. The couple feel instantly and helplessly drawn to Lioness and end up leaving the restaurant having invited her to live in their garage rent free. This is mainly due to Lioness getting all sad eyed about being cold and needing to live someplace warm as she just.can't.stand.the.cold.
As time passes the couple start to realise that Lioness is hiding something (they suspect that she's running away from someone) and that she's also not quite "normal".
The story follows the bumps and troubles of Abe and Joanna's relationship and how things change between them after they let Lioness into their lives. This normal, everyday story is seamlessly blended with Greek mythology to form and interesting (if somewhat dull) mix of the two.
This is a well written story which flows well between real-life happenings and interesting mythology. Its a very subtle fantasy book which would work well for people who may not necessarily be fans of the fantasy genre normally.
It holds onto its secrets, keeping you guessing for quite a while as to who Lioness really is and where she came from.
There is just not enough fantasy or magic in this story.
At least not for me.
The whole thing seemed rather mundane and boring, which is surprising when it includes some really interesting characters!
I just don't understand how you can write a book about characters from Greek mythology and think, "Hey, you know whats interesting? Harmonicas!" what?!
There was too much focus on the relationship between Abe and Joanna. Sure, reading about a middle aged couple is kind of refreshing for me, but Lioness was so much more fascinating and yet her character seemed like it was hardly explored.
Also, nothing happens to the two main characters.
By the end of the book they both seem to think that their lives have changed dramatically and that nothing will be the same because of meeting Lioness, but seriously?
The changes in their lives (Abe joining a Blues band and Joanna taking up Kayaking) would have happened anyway, even without Lioness factoring in.
The other things that happen while Lioness is around are so laughably minor and insignificant that I can't see why they make any difference at all?
Abe does make a huge mistake towards the end of the book (which obviously does come with consequences) but other than this one thing, nothing of any real interest actually happens.
So, to sum up...
Pick this one up if you fancy an easy, well written, sometimes dull story about the relationship between two middled aged people who meet a pretty girl one day.
And nothing happens.