Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Summerlong, by Peter S. Beagle

Peter S. Beagle has been one of my favorite authors since I read The Last Unicorn decades ago. Every time I visit a bookstore, I check the Sci Fi/ Fantasy section to see if they have a book of his I haven't read yet. So I was delighted to find Summerlong, a new and lovely novel in which the mythic and the everyday bump up against each other.

A young woman named Lioness shows up on the Puget Sound island where Abe, a sixty-something scholar, toils over a book, visited often by his longtime inamorata Joanna, a flight attendant, and her daughter Lily. The visitor has an aura of spring, and the very earth responds - the air is gently warm, the soil and plants abundant, and around her people feel touched as if by magic. Though Lioness appears young, in her eyes are the memories of centuries, of aeons, and her voice and accent evoke Otherness.

In Beagle's stories, the world we're accustomed to and one with greater possibilities exist side by side, and one need only to turn a certain corner to move from our quotidian plane to one where myth and mystery are part of the landscape.

In a time when kindness seems in short supply, this writer offers a long view in which joy is contagious and even a god can be moved by what we do. Read him and smile!