The forest was full of signs and portents, its own secret written language.
Tove Jansson, the world renowned creator of the Moomintroll characters, succinctly harnesses the power and glory of a seaside summer season in the twenty two elegant vignettes contained within The Summer Book Here is a book in no need of magic or any other fantastical adornments as she reminds us that we can discover pure, beautiful magic in the natural world all around us if only we quiet our lives and open our eyes to it Set upon a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland much like where Jansson s own family spent their summers, Summer Book chronicles the interactions and adventures between a young girl, Sophia, and her grandmother as they embrace the wor Rating 4.
5 of fiveThe Publisher Says In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer its sunlight and storms into twenty two crystalline vignettes This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six year old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs They discuss things that matter to young and old alike life, death, the nature of God and of love On an Why do only the very very young or the very very old have time to ponder what heaven is like Or to bask in the simple act of diving Or to invent stories about mice and worms and write a novel about a day in their animal lives Maybe because grandmothers are the only people in the world capable of educating using the art of playing and granddaughters are the only ones ready to play with grandmothers seriously This is, in short, what Tove Jansson portrays in The Summer Book, a summer that is not Mediterranean, and a book that is not only for children but rather for those of all ages who still see the world as a place full of potential wonder and adventure.
Jansson evokes the chilly nights of August, the virulence of summer storms and the silent walks on the untamed beaches of a lost island in Finland with t As luck would have it, there was a Tove Jansson exhibition on at the Helsinki Ateneum while I was in town August marks the centenary of her birth It s still strange to me to realise that a hundred years ago is only the twentieth century now To me, last century still suggests Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy Amidst all the seascapes, moody self portraits and Moomin sketches, I was fascinated by a video exhibit that showed a loop of grainy home movie footage Tove and her partner Tuulikki Pietil on their island in the Pellinkis, laughing in the sun, wearing baggy knitted jumpers, and looking as people always do in grainy home movie footage especially dead.
In some ways death is the central theme of this book, but to say so gives entirely the wrong impression it is light, charming, funny, enriching, very alive, not remotely morbid or depressin
Do you remember when you were a child, so many books were enchanting, casting a spell of wonder and reverence over you that you carried around long after the book was finished Even if the book contained absolutely no magic or fantasy, but was down to earth, about the lives of real people and ordinary experiences told in an extraordinary way Then you graduated to adult books and began to wonder why really wonderful books and authors for adults were so rare and difficult to discover Like this summer island, a perfectly ordinary and absolutely enchanted place off the coast of Finland, where Grandmother and her granddaughter Sophia spend every summer from Sophia s early childhood through her adolescent years Grandmother is a sculptor, a lover of nature, unconventional Sophia has inherited her strong personality and Totally charming and remarkably deep little book makes for a very happy afternoon Jannson s talent shines through in her depiction of both the old and the young The Grandmother and Sophia have much in common and the novel is revelation on how to write different ages with honesty and clarity It s such a lean thing that it s not particularly worth pulling out individual episodes, but there are a couple of moments Sophia s book on worms, a thwarted party that will stick with me Gorgeous descriptions A wonderful consistency in usage of words like nice and pretty, words that should be usedoften.
If I had to describe it, I would say that it s sort of the spiritual link between Sei Shonagon and Lydia Davis.
Elderly Artist And Her Six Year Old Granddaughter While Away A Summer Together On A Tiny Island In The Gulf Of Finland Gradually, The Two Learn To Adjust To Each Other S Fears, Whims And Yearnings For Independence, And A Fierce Yet Understated Love Emerges One That Encompasses Not Only The Summer Inhabitants But The Island Itself, With Its Mossy Rocks, Windswept Firs And Unpredictable SeasFull Of Brusque Humour And Wisdom, The Summer Book Is A Profoundly Life Affirming Story [Tove Jansson] Û Sommarboken [social-issues PDF] read Online Û Tove Jansson Captured Much Of Her Own Experience And Spirit In The Book, Which Was Her Favourite Of The Novels She Wrote For Adults This New Edition Sees The Return Of A European Literary Gem Fresh, Authentic And Deeply Humane I d temporarily put away The Horn Island Logs of Walter Inglis Anderson to get to other books and then this one arrived from the library The character of Grandmother and the setting immediately called to mind Anderson and the tiny island of his nonfictional logs Both Anderson and Grandmother live at times on an island where they are tolerant, though very wary, of outsiders They find their place in the island world by observing the minutest of lives there, knowing they re just another small element They are determined to become a part of its ecosystem without changing it, though they are too much of realists to know that doing so completely is possible Neither is sentimental about the natural world, or really about anything They are artists and create works, carved out of wood, that are ephemeral and that others will not necessarily see They the carvin This thin volume composed of twenty two separate and sometimes isolating sections called crystalline vignettes on the back book cover somehow holds a whole world It s set on a small island near Finland, where the family at the center of this book spends their summers The family consists of Sophia, a six year old girl, her grandmother, and her father, who is also the grandmother s son Conspicuously absent is the girl s mother, who, we learn from a single reference to her in the second vignette, has died at some point during the last year One time in April there was a full moon, and the sea was covered with ice Sophia woke up and remembered they had come back to the island and that she had a bed to herself beca Swedish speaking Finnish Tove Jansson 1914 2001 , author of Moomin books, was a lesbian Coming from highly artistic family, she wrote and illustrated the famous Moomin children s book that came out after WWII when she felt like creating something innocent That children s book became the most popular series in Europe in the 40 s and 50 s.
Then came the death of her mother in 1972 Sad and grieving, she wrote The Summer Book which is now considered as a Scandinavian classic and has never been out of print It is a story of one summer in a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland where an elderly artist and her 6 y o granddaughter, Sophia stayed together with Sophia s dad The island is so tiny that it took the author, Esther Freud who wrote the book s introduction to the edition I read 4 1 2 minutes to go around it This latest edition has even pictures of the real life chara
The forest was full of signs and portents, its own secret written language.