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The Summer Book (1972)

by Tove Jansson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,1441025,083 (4.18)385
"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." -- Publisher's description.
  1. 41
    Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson (Jannes)
    Jannes: Janssons kärlek till den finska skärgården är mycket tydlig i båda dessa böcker som trots sina ytliga olikheter har mycket gemensamt.
  2. 10
    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (Jannes)
    Jannes: Interconnected stories abour childhood and endless summers. Bradbury is more fantastical, while Jansson leans more to the realistic and understated, but both books runs over with wonderful and lyrical prose, and both captures a sense of childhood and summer i a way that is very rare.… (more)
  3. 00
    A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence (Cecilturtle)
    Cecilturtle: A similarly constructed series of connected short stories told through the eyes of a young girl.
  4. 00
    The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: Unusual, beautiful relationships between the old and young
  5. 00
    Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest by Amos Oz (cometahalley)
  6. 00
    Der erste Lehrer by Tschingis Aitmatow (cometahalley)
  7. 00
    Melodia della terra: Giamilja by Cingiz Ajtmatov (cometahalley)
  8. 00
    The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna (jonathankws)
  9. 00
    Il te e l'amore per il mare by Fazil Iskander (cometahalley)
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» See also 385 mentions

English (91)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Doubtless all that can be said about this charming collection has been. I don't understand why it is called a novel - it's prose, it's longer than a short story, therefore it's a novel? In fact this is 22 small pieces contained and constrained by setting and character. Everybody will have the points in this book that stand out for them in some way. My bookmark has stayed here:

Here you come, headlong into a tight little group of people who have always lived together, who have the habit of moving around each other on land they know and own and understand, and every threat to what they're used to only makes them still more compact and self-assured. An island can be dreadful for someone from outside. Everything is complete, and everyone has his obstinate, sure and self-sufficient place. Within their shores, everything functions according to rituals that are as hard as rock from repetition, and at the same time they amble through their days as whimsically and casually as if the world ended at the horizon.


For a book like this to come to be available to a person like me, Englishly and stubbornly mono-lingual, requires some work. When the re-issue I read referred to the 'flawless' translation by Thomas Teal, I wondered who he is.

rest here:

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/summer-book-by-tove-jansso... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Doubtless all that can be said about this charming collection has been. I don't understand why it is called a novel - it's prose, it's longer than a short story, therefore it's a novel? In fact this is 22 small pieces contained and constrained by setting and character. Everybody will have the points in this book that stand out for them in some way. My bookmark has stayed here:

Here you come, headlong into a tight little group of people who have always lived together, who have the habit of moving around each other on land they know and own and understand, and every threat to what they're used to only makes them still more compact and self-assured. An island can be dreadful for someone from outside. Everything is complete, and everyone has his obstinate, sure and self-sufficient place. Within their shores, everything functions according to rituals that are as hard as rock from repetition, and at the same time they amble through their days as whimsically and casually as if the world ended at the horizon.


For a book like this to come to be available to a person like me, Englishly and stubbornly mono-lingual, requires some work. When the re-issue I read referred to the 'flawless' translation by Thomas Teal, I wondered who he is.

rest here:

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/summer-book-by-tove-jansso... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
A small family of grandmother, father, and daughter spend summers on a small island in the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea's easternmost arm. The young girl is imaginative and temperamental and the grandmother supportive, weary, and fighting to stay present, the father, lost in his work and loneliness rarely engages with them. The land, the sea, the plants, topography and animals occupy the girl while the grandmother has books on which to rely. This episodic telling of events on what must be a series of summers is full of moods and shades, nature and humanity. ( )
  quondame | Jun 6, 2020 |
This book is perfect summer reading. I go on and on about Proust and whatnot but deep down in my soul Tove Jannson understands something that lives on the penumbra of language and that realm of thought it can’t touch. ( )
  jtth | May 4, 2020 |
A sweet little book. I'm surprised that it had escaped my notice until now. Better late than never! I particularly liked Ericsson. ( )
  neal_ | Apr 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
In Why Read the Classics, Italo Calvino defines a classic as "any book that comes to represent the whole universe, a book on a par with ancient talismans". He indicates how a classic book reduces the noise of the contemporary world to a background hum when we read it, and conversely is always itself there in the background "even when a present that is totally incompatible with it holds sway".
The Summer Book is a world apart. It is very good to have it.
added by DouglasAtEik | editThe Guardian, Ali Smith (Jul 12, 2003)
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jansson, Toveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, KathrynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freud, EstherForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giorgetti Cima, CarmenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kicherer, BirgittaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teal, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was an early, very warm morning in July, and it had rained during the night.
Quotations
Che cosa strana è l'amore, disse Sofia. Più si ama l'altro e meno l'altro ti ama.
È assolutamente vero, osservò la nonna. E allora che cosa si può fare?
Si continua ad amare, disse Sofia minacciosamente. Si ama sempre peggio".
Grandmother walked up the bare granite and thought about birds in general. It seemed to her no other creature had the same dramatic capacity to underline and perfect events -- the shifts in the seasons and the weather, the changes that run through people themselves.
Eriksson was small and strong and the colour of the landscape, except that his eyes were blue. When people talked about him or thought about him, it seemed natural to lift their heads and gaze out over the sea […. A]s long as he stayed, he had everyone's undivided attention. No one did anything, no one looked at anything but Eriksson. They would hang on his every word, and when he was gone and nothing had actually been said, their thoughts would dwell gravely on what he had left unspoken.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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