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The Summer Book (1972)

by Tove Jansson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,8861284,659 (4.15)1 / 493
"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. 20
    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
    The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna (jonathankws)
  4. 00
    Melodia della terra: Giamilja by Cingiz Ajtmatov (cometahalley)
  5. 00
    First Teacher by Chinghiz Aitmatov (cometahalley)
  6. 00
    IL TÈ E L'AMORE PER IL MARE by Fazil Iskander (cometahalley)
  7. 00
    Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest by Amos Oz (cometahalley)
  8. 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.
  9. 00
    The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: Unusual, beautiful relationships between the old and young

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» See also 493 mentions

English (117)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
Quite a sweet little book, told in the form of episodic tales, about the relationship between a grandmother and a 6-year-old granddaughter, and life on a small island, off the coast of Finland, in the summer. The characters of grandmother and granddaughter are apparently based upon the author and her niece.

The child's father is present, but he is mainly a background figure who deals with practicalities such as catching fish or mending things. Although it could be taking place during one summer, I don't think it is, because there is one episode in which they leave the island and do all the chores necessary for departure, but later return to carry on with cultivation of plants the father has had delivered.

One thing that was confusing in places were various references to going into town which did not appear to require a boat as if the town was on the island - it definitely wasn't. The stories have a rather disjointed nature, and characters are referenced who the reader often has no clue about. I also found the rather bratty child annoying, when she is acting out at various times, although there is some nice gentle character based humour from the grandmother. So overall, I would rate this at 3 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
I felt totally transported by this book, which seemed simultaneously mischievous fun and also the entirety of the wisdom I need for my life in this moment.

Could make an interesting companion read for [b:How Does It Feel to Be Old?|773848|How Does It Feel to Be Old?|Norma Farber|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1178230162l/773848._SX50_.jpg|759897] ( )
  mmparker | Oct 24, 2023 |
These dream-like stories of summers on a small Finnish skerry: Grandmother and granddaughter, in the background the father writing and fishing, they are a quiet pleasure to read and re-read; no wonder the book has become a classic. Read them slowly, so simple they seem but much remain unsaid, you can easily miss it; and read the Introduction by Esther Freud and the review by Ali Smith: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/jul/12/fiction.alismith (IX-23) ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Sep 16, 2023 |
I read this shortly after reading The Unseen which takes place on a Norwegian island versus a Finnish Island. The Unseen depicts daily life while The Summer Book depicts the life of a six year old which is a narrow perspective. I didn’t like the 6 year old that much. Evidently the book is partly auto fiction. Both books had beautiful writing but for some reason, The Unseen spoke to me versus The Summer Book. ( )
  kayanelson | Sep 13, 2023 |
Per Tove Jansson gli uomini non parlano; fanno, si muovono, occupano (riempiono) solo lo spazio fisico.

Chiunque abiti su un'isola lascia spesso spaziare lo sguardo verso l'orizzonte. Vede i contorni familiari degli scogli, e i segnali che sono sempre stati nello stesso punto, e trae forza dalla quieta consapevolezza che la visibilità è buona e che tutto è come dev'essere.
(pagina 78)

Era una serata particolarmente adatta ad iniziare un libro. La nonna aprì la prima pagina, rischiarata dalla luce del tramonto che filtrava attraverso i vetri; c'era già il disegno di un verme tagliato in due, la stanza degli ospiti era quieta e fresca e dietro la parete il babbo era seduto al suo tavolo, a lavorare.
(pagina 122)

Il babbo rientrò e mise nuova legna sul fuoco; diede loro una coperta che puzzava e uscì a guardare le onde prima che fosse troppo buio.
(pagina 137) ( )
  NewLibrary78 | Jul 22, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (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 (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jansson, Toveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, KathrynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freud, EstherForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giorgetti Cima, CarmenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Happonen, SirkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansson, SophiaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kicherer, BirgittaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kivivuori, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teal, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Virtanen, LeenaTranslatorsecondary 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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"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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