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The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

The Summer Book (1972)

by Tove Jansson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,918875,368 (4.19)369
  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
    Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest by Amos Oz (cometahalley)
  4. 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.
  5. 00
    Il te e l'amore per il mare by Fazil Iskander (cometahalley)
  6. 00
    Melodia della terra: Giamilja by Cingiz Ajtmatov (cometahalley)
  7. 00
    The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna (jonathankws)
  8. 00
    Der erste Lehrer by Tschingis Aitmatow (cometahalley)

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» See also 369 mentions

English (79)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Six-year-old Sophia and her grandmother spend the summer in their cottage on an island in the Gulf of Finland. Nothing major happens.

It’s great; highly recommended. Make sure you get an edition that includes the author’s illustrations. ( )
  k6gst | Apr 22, 2019 |
What a lovely book! Funny, interesting, paibting a beautiful picture of a Scandinavian summer.
It has been a while since I ladt read a book in one sitting... This one I just couldn't put down. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 15, 2019 |
Vignettes of childhood explorations, elderly reflections, and grandmother-granddaughter relationships, the book captures the wondrous feelings of adventure in the familiar. The anecdotes are set in one drowsy summer on a small family island, itself is a beautiful creation of contrasts, of natural wilderness and man-made debris, portraying both the romance and hardship of an island solitude.

The characterisations of Sophia and her grandmother are marvelous. Sophia is volatile, inquisitive, petulant, and prone to tantrums, making her a far more interesting and realistic six-year-old girl than storybook girls tend to be. Her personality and island explorations reminded me of Mei from My Neighbour Totoro, the wholesome beauty of nature combined with these formative childhoods, full of curiosity, tantrums and imagination.

Meanwhile the grandmother is not just of the doting grandmother archetype. She gets frustrated with Sophia, is mischievous, has adventures of her own, taking frequent naps out in nature (or just pretending to!), crawling under shrubs or up in attics. Yet she's also secretly caring in her own snappy way albeit not in any way that Sophia would recognise now as a child. Her love is the type that can really only be recognised in retrospection, a love that requires maturity in order for it to be truly appreciated.

My top three favourite vignettes, in order: Playing Venice, The Cave, The Cat. ( )
  kitzyl | Jan 1, 2019 |
Sadly, I think, the English translation has let this book down. The storyline doesn't flow, the phrasing and many of the words used by the translator just jarred my ears, an English speaking person wouldn't say things that way. Described often as a "....European literary gem" I think this would need to be read in the original Swedish language to appreciate its brilliance. I still enjoyed the book, inspired by the authors happy memories of summers spent with her family on the island. ( )
  Fliss88 | Dec 27, 2018 |
A gentle but unsentimental book where plot is minimal and atmosphere is everything. The chapters are glimpses into summer days on an isolated island where grandma and grandchild pass the time looking at nature and talking. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Oct 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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» 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.
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.

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