Sep. 8th, 2010

starlady: (a sad tale's best)
Jansson, Tove. The Summer Book. Trans. Thomas Teal. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008. [1972]

I love Tove Jansson's works, particularly Moomintroll and the denizens of Moomin Valley, wholeheartedly. So I was very happy to find this short novel, written in the wake of Jansson's mother's death, on the bargain shelf in Penn Books in Philly.

The Summer Book is told through a series of vignettes about the young girl Sophia and her Grandmother and their life summering on an island in the Gulf of Finland, much like the island on which Jansson and her partner lived until 1991. There isn't really a plot, but there is an entire book's worth of marvelous, keenly observed detail about life on the island, and also, in Jansson's sideways profound way, a measured consideration of life, death, and the nature of family. Jansson's writing is intensely seasonal, and this book is too, not only seasons in nature but in human life. Really, really good.