The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
(New York Review Books Classics)

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Synopsis

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. 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. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.

Tove Jansson, whose Moomintroll comic strip and books brought her international acclaim, lived for much of her life on an island like the one described in The Summer Book, and the work can be enjoyed as her closely observed journal of the sounds, sights, and feel of a summer spent in intimate contact with the natural world.
 

About Tove Jansson

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The writer and artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is best known as the creator of the Moomin children's stories, which have been published in 35 languages. The Summer Book was one of ten novels she wrote for adults. It is regarded as a modern classic throughout Scandinavia.
 
Published August 8, 2012 by NYRB Classics. 184 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Summer Book

Kirkus Reviews

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Ms. Jansson, who wrote those "Moominland" fancies for children, has directed her inventive hook-and-button plain talk at some adult concerns.

Mar 29 2013 | Read Full Review of The Summer Book (New York Rev...

The New York Review of Books

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes.

May 20 2008 | Read Full Review of The Summer Book (New York Rev...

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