The Summer Book

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The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

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New Releases. The Summer Book. Description 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.


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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. 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.

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She has to spend more time with people she doesn't like, before it's too late. Much of the time it is just the two of them, with Sophia's father generally in the background, at best, and any other people or animals generally not quite fitting into the tight little world they inhabit. Part of this island-society, with its specific expectations and attitudes including: "They had developed a habit, over the years, of not talking about painful things, in order to make them less painful" , they have a close relationship and that sort of mutual understanding that can develop between generations.

Jansson's variety of episodes, ranging from those where little of note seems to happen to the modestly dramatic including one of the great storms in recent memory, which Sophia thinks she caused -- only to have her grandmother take that burden from her , are at best loosely connected, yet this mosaic approach makes for a very rich picture. And even where so little seems to happen, everything is of consequence -- with Jansson's success also built on the fact that she doesn't try to hammer home that point, but rather lets the reader come to see it on their own.

The Summer Book is a charming work. It feels very light, but is anything but fluff. Well worthwhile. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

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Contents: Main. The Summer Book - US. The Summer Book - UK. The Summer Book - Canada.