Teaser Tuesday: “Summerland”

So recently I was reading Summerland, a fantasy novel by Michael Chabon, who you may remember from such books as Wonder Boys and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which has never appeared as a Teaser Tuesday because I read it way back when Teaser Tuesday was just Tuesday.

Yes, that’s a station wagon suspended from a zeppelin. No, Clark Griswold is not driving it.

Summerland tells the story of how inept little league baseball player Ethan Feld and ept* little league baseball player Jennifer T. get involved in a longstanding struggle between baseball-playing faeries and an apparently malevolent (as opposed to the usual merely mischievous and irresponsible) entity named Coyote who is, apparently, trying to destroy the world**. But before that, there’s baseball to be played***! And what’s the best way to get to a baseball game? In an orange station wagon, of course!

They walked down the muddy path to the driveway and got into Mr. Feld’s Saab station wagon. The car’s name was Skidbladnir, but usually they just called her Skid. She was oranger than anything else within a five-hundred-mile radius of Clam Island, including traffic cones, U-Haul trailers, and a fair number of actual oranges. She was so old that, as she went along, she made squeaking and rattling noises that sounded more like the sounds of a horse buggy than of an automobile.

Michael Chabon, Summerland

A car that’s more orange than actual oranges? I can already tell I like these people.

Take me out to the ballgame?

When I was describing this book to my wife, comparing it to one of our favorite books, Cliver Barker’s The Thief of Always, she made a few observations about it:

Me: “It’s about a kid who gets involved with the world of faerie, and—”
Wife: “And turns out to be the chosen one?”
Me: “Probably.”
Wife: “With special powers he never knew about?”
Me: “That’s usually how it goes with these sorts of books, yes.”

Speaking of these sorts of books, and seeing as how I, of course, wrote one, I figured that rather than randomly choose from all of my own books for the usual Teaser Tuesday excerpt, I would have the Gods of Randomness choose between Shards and Ravels, and they chose an excerpt from Shards, in which one of Our Heroes, Bernard, finds himself imprisoned in a dwarven stronghold with only the italicized voice in his head for company****.

“I’m still finalizing my escape plans.”

Let me see where we are.

Bernard remembered from his own experience that while he hadn’t seen directly through Brannoc’s eyes, he was generally forced to view things from Brannoc’s perspective, so he lifted his head and looked around, giving his invisible companion a chance to inspect their cell.  The light from the door grate was dim as ever, but his eyes had had plenty of time to adjust.  After a little while his neck got sore and he lowered his head again.  “So what do you think?”

I’ve been in worse situations than this.

“Really,” Bernard said.

After a pause, Brannoc said, Well, maybe not.

Bernard grunted.  “I wish I knew where Mercy was.”

Mercy?  You’re unlikely to find any mercy here.

“Not that kind of mercy.  This is a girl.”

It has been my experience that mercy is to be sought from neither girls nor women.

James Viscosi, Shards

* I realize this is not an actual word.
** As one does.
*** There is, apparently, going to be a lot of baseball in this book.
**** Hey, during the plague year, we’ve all been imprisoned with the voices in our heads, am I right?

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