Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Winter Book

Tove Jansson
Sort of Books
London 2006

I'm reading this wonderful selection of stories for the second time - because it's so very hot here. As Nan said, Mrs,Bale would not like this. People in other parts of the continent would laugh at us. Folks are sweltering in Toronto; there was a major power failure - everyone was using their air conditioning. I grew up in Toronto when not many of us had AC, so I know what it's like. That's why I live here on an island in the Pacific Northwest where it's usually cool  and green. We're just not used to this.

Now, isn't the cover of this book just lovely. Makes me feel cooler just to look at it. The stories are not all about winter - the first section is titled Snow. The stories are drawn from youth and older age, and spanning most of the twentieth century.

Tove Jansson is probably best known for the Moomin Books, one of which I wrote about three years ago. it's here if you'd like to look.

Philip Pullman commented "As smooth and odd and beautiful as sea-worn driftwood, as full of light and air as the Nordic summer. We are lucky to have these stories collected at last." Tove Jansson died in 2001 at the age of 86. This is a picture of the young Tove

She grew up a bohemian artistic child, a daughter of artists and bohemians; her mother was the famous Finnish/Swedish illustrator and artist Signe Hammarsten; her father, Victor Jansson, was an equally well-known sculptor.

After her mother died, she wrote The Summer Book, the acknowledged adult masterpiece. Ali Smith wrote "the simple, spare story of a very old woman and a very young girl and the adventures, losses and gains that inevitably follow when great age and youth live together on a very small Scandinavian island for the whole of an endlessly lit summer."


Nan said...

What a wonderful review. I really must read it.

StuckInABook said...

You're so right about the cover being cooling just to look at... I'm so grateful for the Tove Jansson translations!