Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Summer Book

Title: The Summer Book

Author: Tove Jansson

Number of pages: 172

Started: 23 July 2010

Finished: 27 July 2010

Opening words:

It was an early, very warm morning in July, and it had rained during the night. The bare granite steamed, the moss and crevices were drenched with moisture, and all the colours everywhere had deepened. Below the veranda, all the vegetation in the morning shade was like a rainforest of lush, evil leaves and flowers, which she had to be careful not to break as she searched. She held one hand in front of her mouth and was constantly afraid of losing her balance.

"What are you doing?" asked little Sophia'

See the introduction and an extract here.

Plot summary:

An elderly artist and her six-year-old grand-daughter while away 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.

What I thought:

Tove Jansson is the author of the Moomin books, which are clearly aimed at children. The Summer Book is definitely a book for adults, but does in its own way have the same disarming charm of a children’s book. It is the tale of the relationship between a six year old and her grandmother as they spend their summer on a small island.

It is an easy read and you can just let if flow over you, although if you think more about the words you see the deeper levels of the book, and what the grandmother is trying to teach her granddaughter.

A good summer read.


Sarah said...

I read some Moomintroll stuff earlier in the year, and then I heard about this. I was recently asked what books I wanted for my birthday and my mind went blank... Typical.

But I might go out on a limb and buy this one unilaterally. It sounds like perfect reading for our pending summer holiday...

Great review. Glad you confirmed my expectations!

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - I am actually tempted to read the Moomintroll books. I suspect they have a certain appeal even at my age. Do read this one though.

I am actually just starting another book by her The True Deceiver. I think it is meant to be quite dark. Hopefully it will be another good read.