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The Summer Book
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The Summer Book (Paperback)

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'Rereading it now, in lockdown, this book feels like a survival guide.' Melissa Harrison, The Guardian

'The Summer Book's limpid style belies a deep psychological subtlety. It's about how people can live close together for months with tact and grace, and about how rich and rewarding even a small world can be.' Melissa Harrison, The Guardian

'The Summer Book is a marvellously uplifting read, full of gentle humour and wisdom.' Daily Telegraph

The Worldwide Classic about a tiny island and larger love.

An elderly artist and her six-year-old grand-daughter while away a summer together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. As the two learn to adjust to each other's fears, whims and yearnings, a fierce yet understated love emerges - one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the very island itself.

Written in a clear, unsentimental style, full of brusque humour, and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story. Tove Jansson captured much of her own life and spirit in the book, which was her favourite of her adult novels. This new edition, with a Foreword by Esther Freud, sees the return of a European literary gem - fresh, authentic and deeply humane.

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Sort of Books Publication Date: 29/05/2003 ISBN-13: 9780954221713  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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The writer and artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is best known as the creator of the Moomin children's stories, which have been published in 35 languages. The Summer Book was one of ten novels she wrote for adults. It is regarded as a modern classic throughout Scandinavia.

More books by Tove Jansson

Customer Reviews

‘’One time in April, there was a full moon, and the sea was covered with ice. Sophia woke up and remembered that they had gone back to the island and that she had a bed to herself because her mother was dead.’’ Sophia and her grandmother spend the summer on a small island in the Gulf of Finland. the child is difficult, at times impossible. She is also charismatic, inquisitive and absolutely brilliant. Grandma is wise, opinionated, feisty and protective. Through their tempestuous relationship and the wild beauty of the landscape they call ‘home’, we witness the bond and the gaps between the generations, we watch the marriage between humans and Nature, and, quietly, we may begin to turn our eyes inside us, on our relationships and priorities. ‘’Well’’, Grandmother said, ‘’it did die now, all the same.’’ ‘’How did it die?’’, Sophia yelled. She was very angry. ‘’Of unrequited love.’’ In 22 short chapters, Tove Jansson paints a world of ‘magic’ forests, silent steps and cries, driftwood and seaweed, summer winds and evening light. Of the full moon and the unpredictable sea, of a grandmother that always stands her ground, a child that wonders how God can keep track of all the people who pray at the same time, who prays to be brave, who tries not to get bored, who struggles to find her world bereaved of her mother while her father is a silent, almost absent, figure. The island is there, watching and listening while Sophia struggles to make sense of the world that opens before her and her grandmother tries to understand the ‘noise’ that humans create unnecessarily. “It's funny about love', Sophia said. 'The more you love someone, the less he likes you back.' 'That's very true,' Grandmother observed. 'And so what do you do?' 'You go on loving,' said Sophia threateningly. 'You love harder and harder.” Beautifully translated by Thomas Teal. The Introduction by Kathryn Davis did not do justice to Jansson’s work, in my opinion. ‘’Every year, the bright Scandinavian summer nights fade away without anyone’s noticing. One evening in August you have an errand outdoors, and all of a sudden it’s pitch-black. A great warm, dark silence surrounds the house. It is still summer, but the summer is no longer alive. It has come to a standstill, nothing withers, and fall is not ready to begin. There are no stars yet, just darkness.’’

- 15/08/2021
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A quiet book, my mum didn't seem to enjoy it as much as the people I heard review it on the radio.

- 28/01/2013
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