Although Tove Jansson is well known for writing the children’s stories The Moomins, the Swedish speaking Finnish was also a well established writer for adults. The Summer Book is most probably her most well known book for adults audiences and tells the story of a grandmother and her six-year-old grandaughter who stay on a small island in the gulf of Finland for the summer. They learn to adapt to each other’s personalities and despite the significant generational gap, they understand each other. They live in an environment of isolation and confinement but they survive in each other’s company. It is a story that is realistic and wise, funny and adventurous and the frank discussions about life, death and nature only add to this. There are many quotes that I admire in this book. They are simple yet profound. Here is an example:
“Gathering is peculiar, because you see nothing but what you’re looking for. If you’re picking raspberries, you see only what’s red, and if you’re looking for bones you see only the white.”
It is an absolute joy to read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson – I only wish I read it sooner!