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Summer Book Hardcover – 15 Sep 1975

112 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 15 Sep 1975
£5.31
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (15 Sept. 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091247802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091247805
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,616,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

TOVE JANSSON (1914-2001) is revered around the world as one of the foremost children's authors of the twentieth century for her illustrated Moomin chapter books.

Product Description

Review

Tove Jansson was a genius. This is a marvellous, beautiful, wise novel, which is also very funny. (Philip Pullman)

This is a wonderful, life-affirming, spirited book. Reading it was a tonic. (Chris Stewart (author, Driving Over Lemons))

Eccentric, funny, wise, full of joys and small adventures. This is a book for life. (Esther Freud) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914. She captured much of her own life and spirit in The Summer Book, which was her personal favourite among her own novels. She is most famous for the series of Moomin characters which she created in 1945. Her books have been compared to the works of Lewis Carroll and J.R.R Tolkien. Jansson died on 27 June 2001. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 105 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
Beautifully-written, 'The Summer Book' focuses upon the relationship between a little girl, Sophia and her wilful, yet wise grandmother as they spend the summer together on a remote Finnish island.
Based on Jansson's own family experiences and love of nature, the stories are deceptively simplistic. The author manages to cram a huge amount of ideas, observations and description into a relatively short space without being sentimental or over-descriptive. The characters are excellent. The grandmother and Sophia are feisty individuals who enjoy questioning the world and their conversations can be at times, both hilarious and touching.
This edition has also been produced with real care. Esther Freud's foreword is probably one of the most fascinating that I have read in a long time(she visits the island and meets the 'grown-up' Sophia) and the inclusion of photographs of the island and Jansson's family only adds to the slightly sad beauty of the novel.
For me, it sums up what great literature should be. It's an easy and enjoyable book to read, but you leave with the impression of having touched on some huge ideas. I'm looking forward to reading it many times over in the future.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
“The Summer Book” is episodic, detailing events from long summers spent on a remote Island off the coast of Finland, and concentrating on the rapport between the recently motherless six-year old Sophia and her Grandmother. Although short, the book covers a lot of ground – a clear and lucid observation of the natural history of the Island and the surrounding sea, reflections on aging and the end of life and, above all, a sharply drawn portrait of the relationship between young and old.
I didn’t feel the book was particularly well served either by the introduction or by the presentation but that shouldn’t put anyone off.
This excellent book tells its tale shorn of sentimentality and platitude. The prose style (I suppose that’s also a nod in the direction of the translation) is simple and elegant. It left me wanting to tone down my enthusiasm in case I put my friends and relatives off reading it.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Peter Scott-presland on 4 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I came to this book with misgivings. It was a choice for our book club, and I approached it thinking it would be another load or portentous cliches a la Paolo Cuelo, or as twee as AA Milne's poems (Dorothy Parker verdict: Tonstant Weader Fwowed Up).

How wrong I was. This is an instant classic, a book you will return to over and over, and anyone who can't see that is not reading with their brain. it's a deceptively simple series of incidents on a tiny island over a summer between Grandmother and Granddaughter Sophia. There is a father, a strong presence who never says anything except when it is time to leave. Some strangers intrude from time to time, loud and weird, but the two close ranks against them. Mostly they potter around, while the grandmother gives the best example of parenting I know in literature.

There are many strengths to the book. Firstly, it has that kind of fascination with minutiae which can have you looking into a rock pool for hours. Remember as a kid how on long summer holidays you could lose yourself for days just mooching or making something stupid? (I remember I spent two months tunnelling to Australia when I was eight.) "The Summer Book" really captures that.

It also captures an essential Finno-Swedish quality. Scandinavia is full of grannies like this one - feisty, practical old women full of love but also self-contained. And all Swedes have a wooden hut somewhere miles from anywhere they disappear to for the summer. Read this book and you'll never need to visit the Gulf of Finland.

This is allied to a real feeling for countryside and ecology, written in 1972 way before ecology was fashionable.
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By booksetc on 9 July 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the most beautifully written book, poignant, sad, wise, joyful, and not a shred of mawkish sentimentality to spoil it.
It tells of the loving, spiky relationship between an angry little girl whose mother has died, and her grandmother who has suffered all the joys and losses of a long life, lived to the full, sometimes raging at the frustrations/indignities of old age, some days calmly accepting them. (The saddest person in the book seems to be the shadowy figure of the father, his back turned to them, as he sits as his desk and buries his grief in work.)
Jansson brings the beauty of their sparse, tiny island vividly to life ... its stones, mosses, the colours of the sea, until you feel that, like the grandmother, you could feel your way around it in the dark.
I think this is one of those books I am going to remember for the rest of my life.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
I rejoice that this short work has come into print again, though it's rather sad that it took the author's recent death to prompt the publishers into action. I'd read an extract in a guide to the top 100 books of the twentieth century and was surprised and disappointed not to be able to get my hands on the full edition.

Jansson has an inate understanding of the wisdom and skewed world-view of children, and manages to capture the fragile - and ephemeral - friendship which can exist between the very old and the very young. There is a freshness about her style which never teeters into whimsy. A rare achievement indeed.
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