"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Summerland by Michael Chabon

I found this book to be mediocre. The writing itself was beautiful at times. Chabon's knowledge of various folklore and legend was impressive, although I found his mix of them sometimes confusing. The four worlds was an interesting element, particularly given how Chabon used them to explain phenomena in our own. And of course, Chabon's love of baseball shone through brightly. Not being a baseball fan myself, I didn't find those parts particularly compelling, but the passion in them was undeniable.

The story, however, is why I hesitate rating this book higher. Many of the characters were fun and memorable - Ethan, Jennifer T., Cutbelly - but the "bad guys" were rather one-dimensional. Many of his minions, too, were much too black-and-white for my taste. The progression of the story chiefly annoyed me. The characters often seemed to advance more thanks to a series of fortunate circumstances than through any action of their own (Thor just happens to be a shadowtail, Pettipaw conveniently shows up at the right moment, the stick Ethan finds happens to be magical). It seemed heavy-handed.

All in all, I'd say that this book is probably pure magic to a baseball fan, but in terms of fantasy, it's nothing to write home about.

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