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The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

The Summer Book (original 1972; edition 2011)

by Tove Jansson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,446595,188 (4.21)296
Title:The Summer Book
Authors:Tove Jansson
Info:Sort Of (2011), Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Collections:Your library, Fiction, Kindle
Tags:Roman, FI

Work details

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (1972)

  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
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  4. 00
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    Cecilturtle: A similarly constructed series of connected short stories told through the eyes of a young girl.
  5. 00
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» See also 296 mentions

English (53)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Perfection of an indescribable variety. It simply has to be read. Grandmother and son and grand-daughter Sophia (six) spend their summers on a tiny island off the coast of Finland. The mother has died, but this is nowhere overtly stated, it is simply implicit, in Sophia's moodiness, in the grandmother's heroic attempts to entertain and comfort the child--not with hugs but with wit and indirection, and the father's utter absorption in the work at his desk or outside gardening and fishing. He is there and not there. Each "chapter" covers an event or an aspect of island life, a new house, ambitious gardening, a bad storm. But don't be fooled, near the end Sophia dictates a book to her grandmother entitled "A Study of Angleworms That Have Come Apart." The book slants toward grandmother's point of view, she treasures the island summers and knows few are left to her, she loves this child, her legs hurt, she gets tired too easily . . . This is one of those pieces of writing that isn't like any other piece of writing you've ever encountered, the language is that of a light-filled Finnish summer by the sea, limpid, still, hot and clear but, everyone knows, only a temporary state of affairs that will change. But then return. It's going on my top ten novels by women. And I will read and reread it. ***** ( )
1 vote sibyx | Sep 26, 2015 |
This was a beautiful book—the best one I've read this summer. These short vignettes, about how a grandmother and her granddaughter spend one summer on an island, are deceptively simple. Beyond the childhood games and model boats, there are deeper moments when Sophia and her grandmother reflect on the nature of life and death, growing older, and God. What attracts me most is how Tove Jansson has captured what it means to be human, in terms that a six year old, or eighty-six year old, could understand.

Some chapters that I particularly loved:

The cat- Sophia gets a cat and learns that when you love, it doesn't matter your expectations are met.

The tent- Grandmother forgets what it's like to camp in a tent, but through Sophia's description, can revisit those memories.

Sophia's storm- Sophia prays and the mother of all storms comes. Sophia then grabbles with the nature of God and prayer, with the help of grandmother.

The whole book was enjoyable though, and I can see myself definitely rereading it, year after year. As this was my first Tove Jansson novel, I am now eagerly anticipating reading The Winter Book. ( )
  mmcdwl | Sep 8, 2015 |
A gloriously and deceptively simple book. Each chapter is an incident on the island at a unspecified year in summer. Usually nothing big. Just life on the island with Grandmother and Sophia with Papa playing a bit part. It captures the mood of the sea, the flow of life, the shifts in relationships, the youthful insistence and wisdom of Sophia, and the deteriorating health of Grandmother. I particularly like the way Grandmother interacts with Sophia, wise, fun and perverse by turn. ( )
  devilish2 | Feb 11, 2015 |
Review: This is a tale of a grandmother and her 6 year old granddaughter who spend summers on an island in the Gulf of Finland. The little girl is Sophie, her mother is dead and her dad is there also. The intro is by Esther Freud and added to the enjoyment of this book. The relationship between the two is not perfect and I like that. Grandmother has her bad days and she doesn't pretend otherwise. She admits to her problems and sometimes she acts like the child. Grandmother in her wisdom recognizes the fears of the granddaughter. There is a lot of philosophy in this book as well as humor.

First line: It was an early, very warm morning in July, and it had rained during the night.

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.

We get comfort when we die, thats the whole idea. You can believe what you like, but you must learn to be tolerant.

Smell is important. It reminds a person of all the things he's been through; it is a sheath of memories and security.

Last words: "Isn't that funny," Grandmother said. "It's only my heart, it's not a herring boat at all." For a long time she wondered if she should go back to bed or stay where she was. She thought that she would stay for a while. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 29, 2014 |
This was a lovely book that took me forever to read for two primary reasons: 1) It took me a little bit to let go of my Moomin expectations and appreciate the realism in this book. 2) This was a used copy that had been heavily underlined.

Now, when this book arrived underlined from paperbackswap, I could have returned it -- it would have been fully justified as underlining in paperbackswap is fully forbidden. But then I would have had to wait for another copy to turn up in the system, which I didn't want to do. I should have returned it. Am currently contemplating buying a new copy, even though I've finished it and am unlikely to reread. But seriously, why are the people who underline and write in books so overwhelmingly insipid? Of course, not all of them, I've seen some of the books my sister has written in (because she was going to review them or otherwise write about them in an article or book), and it was almost enough to make me want to take up the practice for some books. But the notes and underlines in this are so shallow that they're irritating. I mean, they're not as insipid as the notes in the copy of Sons and Lovers I am also currently reading, that sometimes make me want to throw the book across the room. But they were still pretty distracting.

All that aside, I loved this book for most of the reasons I love the Moomin books. This is an author who gets childhood, in a way that is almost enough for a person so advanced in age as me to remember. Also, I love the relationships the characters have. These are not characters who try to manipulate each other into learning life lessons. These are characters who meet each other where they are, and give each other space to process, lick their wounds, change their minds with as much grace as they can muster.

Recommended to Moomin fans and those who live in relationship with children. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jansson, Toveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Teal, ThomasTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, KathrynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freud, EstherForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was an early, very warm morning in July, and it had rained during the night.
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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0954221710, Paperback)

An elderly artist and her six-year-old grand-daughter are away on 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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.

(summary from another edition)

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