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Sculptor's Daughter by Tove Jansson
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Sculptor's Daughter (1968)

by Tove Jansson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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181965,444 (3.93)16
  1. 00
    My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (MaidMeri)
    MaidMeri: Janssonin ja Durrellin lapsuuskertomuksissa on paljon samaa: lämpimän nostalginen ote, enemmän tai vähemmän boheemi perhe, eläimiä sekä viehättävän omituisia tapoja ja tarinoita.
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» See also 16 mentions

English (5)  Swedish (2)  Russian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 5 of 5
I have been under the spell of Tove Jansson since I first read The True Deceiver in 2009. I never encountered her Moomin books as a child, and I must admit, the Moomins don't appeal to me in the same way that characters in the books by Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak do.

But the books, she wrote for adults, starting in 1968 with The Sculptor's Daughter including The Summer Book, Sun City, Travelling Light, and Fair Play have entangled me in Jansson's web of contemplation about friendship, work, artistry, childhood, and aging.

I found Sculptor's Daughter: A Childhood Memoir (Bildhuggarens Dotter) enchanting. When I first discovered Jansson, this book had been long out of print and unavailable, though some of the chapters had been reprinted as stories in A Winter Book, so I was delighted to see that William Morrow had issued a paperback reprint last year.

Jansson's voice in these vignettes from her childhood is both whimsical and wise, creative and ultimately practical. Her memories take her from her grandparents' house in Sweden, to the loft-studio where she lived with her artist parents in Helsinki, to the small island on which they summered in Finland's bays.

This is from the chapter titled "The Bays":

The house is grey, the sky and the sea are grey, and the field is grey with dew. It's four o'clock in the morning and I have saved three important hours which can be counted as extra. Or perhaps three and a half.

I have learned to tell the time, although I'm not yet quite sure about the minutes.

I'm also light grey, but inside, because I'm all vague and wobbly like a jelly-fish, not thinking but just feeling. If you sailed a hundred miles over the sea and walked a hundred miles through the forest in all directions, you wouldn't find a little girl at all. They just don't exist. I know because I've found out....The nearest thing to it you'll find is Fanny who is almost seventy and collects pebbles and shells and dead animals and sings when it is going to rain.
( )
  janeajones | Dec 20, 2015 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2492967.html

I find it generally difficult to write up short story collections; I don't find it satisfactory to either list them all in exhaustive detail, or to concentrate on a few outstanding pieces, disregarding the rest. The most satisfying ones for blogging purposes are those with a unifying theme, preferably by a single author, and this collection of autobiographical snippets by one of my favourite writers ticked all of my boxes.

This was familiar territory - more than half of the autobiographical short stories and vignettes in Sculptor's Daughter are also in A Winter Book, but here there's a more systematic narrative of childhood, of a girl maybe around seven or nine years old growing up in an artistic household, in Helsinki in the 1920s. Some bits really stood out - her relationship with the household staff, her exploration of the countryside on her own, the grown-up political talk (with the recent horrible civil war an unspoken background), all built up parts of the bigger picture.

It's a very short book - 160 pages - and Moomin fans can safely try it as a sampler for Jansson's adult work. But it will also enlighten anyone interested in how European history was lived in small traumatised countries in the third decade of the last century, from the perspective of a child then looking back in later years. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 12, 2015 |
This is an odd book, a fictionalised non autobiography or childhood memoir. Child Tove is a dark creature, intriguing and cruel. The childlike prose the stories are told in occasionally jarred with me. At other times it was perfect, getting across the surreal sense of being a child in a family of artists. Some of the stories felt too short and incomplete, fragments or snippets that didn't quite work. My favourites were Jeremiah and Christmas. Most of the others felt unpleasantly dreamlike and unsettling. That's why I'm only giving it three stars. ( )
  missizicks | Apr 25, 2014 |
En skjønner fort at det ikke var noen annen vei enn kunstens for Tove Jansson. ( )
  Mikalina | Jan 22, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tove Janssonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hart, KingsleyTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansson, LarsPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansson, Per-OlovPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, AliIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Min morfar var präst och brukade predika för kungen.
Grandfather was a clergyman and used to preach to the King.
Quotations
All men have parties and are pals who let each other down. A pal can say terrible things which are forgotten the next day. A pal never forgives, he just forgets and a woman forgives but never forgets. That's how it is. That's why women aren't allowed to have parties. Being forgiven is very unpleasant.
- Parties p. 31
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Published in a deluxe hardback edition for Christmas 2013, to mark the centenary year of Tove Jansson's birth (1914-2014).

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