The Summer Book
14 journalers for this copy...
Full of brusque humour and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story. Tove Jansson captured much of her own experience and spirit in the book, which was her favourite of the novels she wrote for adults.
Translated by Thomas Teal
Foreword by Esther Freud
I love this book. It's funny, wise and humane, and as the quote on the back cover says "full of joys and small adventures".
To be bookringed.
Olifant The Netherlands
Sherlockfan New Zealand
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I've decided to let the book continue its travels around the world. There's no need to mail it back to me. :-)
Just one really thick question, which I'll write in white and then probably erase in embarrassment later: A friend had written out the last two paragraphs, and somehow I'd got the impression then that the grandmother definitely died, but when I read it this time, I wasn't so sure. Do you think definitely, suggested but not certain, or not?
Will be sending this off to BlossomU on Monday.
Posting to BlossomU this morning.
About that ending, I have only just now read Hero´s spoiler comments, but was just going to post about it, I am afraid my first opinion was precisely that of her friend´s, more comments in white I did think the grandmother is dying in the end, the heart beating more and more slowly more out and out to sea. It is not a absolute interpretation, we got to read it between the lines so to speak, but I thought that was what it was, and it all fits correctly with bits we are told earlier, grandmother telling Sophia she will die soon, that whole last chapter grandmother is feeling her age and moving more and more slowly. I also thought the last line, that grandmother was staying near the water, was a message, that even after death her spirit was going to remain, for those who loved her, associated it to that sea and the island and the outside. That being said, one can interpret the end literally, but I don´t think it fits as well, somehow. Hmm, wonder how the swedish edition is, if it is more definite or less?
Something else I am not quite sure, I don´t know if it was in the prologue or the text or just my imagination, but Sophia´s mother had died? The angleworms chapter, which is wonderful, makes so much sense if related to that.
Anyway, a great read, thanks so much myntti!
Book shipped to Gyd November 17th, let us see how long it takes, for some strange reason Spain is the country to which mail seems to take longer!
I thought it was interesting that you never heard what the mother had died of (unless I missed it), and I also didn't pick up on the grandmother's being an artist - though the things she made and did obviously made her an artist, of course, but somewhere (either the intro or a review? Can't remember where I saw it now) it was said as if she were a professional artist. (Sorry about getting my name back on the status, BlossomU!)
I'm really looking forward to reading it and I'm more than a little intrigued about the different opinions about the end. BlosssomU have kindly warned me about that so I'm not going to read any journal entry prior to reading the book.
I shall start my reading today (I was reading some Truman Capote' stories while I waited for its arrival) and maybe this book will come with me for a four days vacation.
And in white about the ending:
I think we are given 'clues' along the book that Sophia's grandmother is old and will die someday soon because that's natural, she's ready and doesn't pay it more attention than that [reassuring and teaching Sophia, after her mother's (sudden?) death, that she may die soon because that is just a natural process/cycle] ; I think her death is suggested at the end of the book but not necessarily at that right moment.
I will post this on the next time I get to the post Office.
Thanks so much for sharing :o)
on its way to BenNevis in Germany
Sophia spends the summer with her grandmother on a small Swedish island. The both of them live a remarkable relationship, they learn from each other, have fun together and argue with each other. I like the way this every day’s life is described, the nature, their feelings. Grandmother is a canny person, it is fun to read how she talks to Sophia and how she helps her to solve her problems.
I liked the chapter “The Tent” most.
“We’ll go ashore,” Grandmother said. She was very angry. Sophia looked frightened. “There’s a big difference,” her grandmother explained. “No well-bred person goes ashore on someone else’s island when there’s no one home. But if they out up a sign, then you doe it anyway, because it’s a slap in the face.”
“Naturally,” Sophia said, increasing her knowledge of life considerably.
To Myntti thank you for sharing this book and thank you all for your interesting comments!
It's a beautiful book, and I look forward to reading it on my vacation.
Once again I'm disillusioned, though -- many liberal Americans think that places like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Sweden, and Finland have such nicer people than we have here-- but Jansson writes about bourgeois families tearing down trees and bulldozing landscapes to build a house with a "no trespassing" sign and padlocks, and yachts full of partiers that dump their rubbish on the summer island. (just like my neighbors!)
The fictional Sophie is terribly precocious and obnoxious, with her screaming, ordering Grandmother around, and wishing her cat, Moppy, were dead. She certainly has a knack for philosophy and psychology, though: consider this remark of hers (6 years old!):
"It's funny about love," Sophia said. "The more you love
someone, the less he likes you back."
My favorite part was in the chapter, "The Cave", where Grandmother kept finding treasures like mushrooms, a Russian cap to carry them in, and a bottle of lemonade.
The most astonishing part was when Papa decided to landscape the island, and the extreme measures he took to make things grow in a place with only turf and no soil ("The Enormous Plastic Sausage").
And the ending? I took Gyd's view of it.
Thanks for sharing; the book is lovely, and I'm mailing it to Zugenia later today.
On to Sherlockfan next!
Oh and Sherlockfan, I will try and reply to your message before you leave on your trip!
This is the kind of book that I would love to read again as I am sure I would get more out of it the second time around. Incidentally I don't think I have read any of the Moomin books but after reading this I think I will have to remedy that.
I have got someone in mind to send it to next, I am sure she will enjoy it.
Released 14 yrs ago (8/4/2005 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Posted to a good bookcrossing friend in Australia. Hope you enjoy this as much as I have!
Edit: January 21 2006
I offered this book to participants in the 5 books, 5 countries, 5 continents challenge. And the following bookcrossers have put their names down to read it.
Released 13 yrs ago (1/11/2006 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Mailed to Queensknob, another participant in the 5 books, 5 countries, 5 continents challenge. Hope you enjoy it.
Mailed to hendertuckian on 2/14/06.
I read this book all in one day...absolutely a wonderful way to spend the day when snowing outside! I loved the entire book and missed my own grandmother much today!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
passing this book along to a friend for another journey. while this book was not my favorite book, I didn't hate it but found it gentel and tender just as a love between a grandmother and granddaughter should be even when they cheat at cards.