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A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson [Kindle Edition]

Tove Jansson , Ali Smith , Silvester Mazzarella , Kingsley Hart , David McDuff
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Book Description

A Winter Book
Selected Stories by Tove Jansson_
Translated from the Swedish by Kingsley Hart, Silvester Mazzarella and David McDuff.

Following the widely acclaimed and bestselling The Summer Book, here is a Winter Book collection of some of Tove Jansson’s best loved and most famous stories. Drawn from youth and older age, and spanning most of the twentieth century, this newly translated selection provides a thrilling showcase of the great Finnish writer’s prose, scattered with insights and home truths. It has been selected and is introduced by Ali Smith.

The Winter Book features 13 stories from Tove Jansson’s first book for adults, The Sculptor’s Daughter (1968) plus 7 of her most cherished later stories (from 1971 to 1996), translated into English and published here for the first time.
With afterwords by Philip Pullman, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Esther Freud.

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Product Description


A predicted major seller ... I feel it will probably do better even than The Summer Book (Sarah Broadhurst The Bookseller)

Beautifully crafted and deceptively simple-seeming, these stories are like pieces of scattered light. (Ali Smith)

These stories show a side of (Tove Jansson) that may be new to some British readers, who perhaps think of her, if at all, as a writer of charming stories for children. They are as tough as good rope, these stories, as smooth and odd and beautiful as sea-worn driftwood, as full of light and air and wind as the Nordic summer. We are lucky to have them collected at last. (Philip Pullman)

These stories are infused with such a strong sense of Tove Jansson's character that by the last page you feel on almost intimate terms with her. Determined, indignant, fearless as a child, we see how she develops - have the luxury of glimpsing her as an old lady too, still determined, still indignant. (Esther Freud)

Meeting the real Tove in these stories has been a an exciting and unnerving experience - a bit like meeting my own guardian angel. (Frank Cottrell Boyce)

Josh Lacey, The Guardian, 18 November, 2006

The book ends perfectly with "Taking leave", a short, melancholy
and very beautiful picture of old age.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2005 KB
  • Print Length: 205 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0954899520
  • Publisher: Sort Of (14 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00796E0TU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,360 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solitary Island 6 Feb. 2009
This is a collection of short stories by the Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson, better known as the creator of the Moomins. Tove grew up in Finland and spent most of her life in a remote island in the Finnish gulf, first with her artist parents and then with her lifelong partner. The nearly-autobiographical stories in this collection cover her tomboyish childhood, where life is ruled by the adventures the island provides, to her old age, when she has to leave the island for good due to health reasons.

Some of the stories don't stand up for themselves; they seem like sketches that bridge other stories or paint just one aspect of the author, but without tension or much narrative drive. Others, however, are like Zen paintings on the relationshion between humans and nature, perfect glimpses of a life dedicated to the outdoors as a way of discovering the interior. Tove's writing is full of anecdotes which are slightly quirky and probably good representations of Finnish humour. There's a certain innocence to her stories that makes A Winter Book as warm and bright as a dreamed summer.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 3 Nov. 2007
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this book after loving The Summer Book so much. I was a little daunted to find that this was not a novel, but a collection of short stories. It is often the case that those who write great novels write mediocre short stories as they are very different disciplines. Luckily Jansson excels at both. The stories are slight, almost like sketches. Some deal with her own memories of bohemian childhood, others are straightforward fiction. The memoir stories are often very funny, with that peculiar melancholy that haunts much of her writing about the moomins. I read some of them to my children and they found them hilarious and touching. The only fault I can find is that these are an amalgamation of stories from several volumes of Jansson's work, which has yet to be published in its entirety in English. I would much rather have read the books as they are meant to be rather than having the stories presented to me by an editor. Having said that, better to have this than nothing at all. I am just hoping they hurry up and print everything she has written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Until we actually get Sculptor's Daughter in English, and how I long for that, this is the next best thing. If you've only read the Moomin books you might wonder how adult fiction would sit with your pleasure of these. Would it jar? Not a bit of it. They are all one and the same, I couldn't imagine how that would be until I started reading her adult fiction. Each reflects a new light upon the other and the light is good. You realise, if you didn't before, how adult her Moomin books are and you likewise hear and feel the child's clarity of vision and pure but eccentric sense of truth chiming through the adult work. The short stories in the collection occupy a borderland between autobiography and fiction. Many stories are memorialised moments of her childhood. They are all utterly spellbinding, the world they describe is far away and long ago but is vivid, intense and compelling. it is a shock to come back to the surface and find yourself in the early 21st century.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all seasons... 22 Jan. 2007
Tove Jansson's "A Winter Book" cherry-picks short stories from her autobiographical "A Sculptor's Daughter" and adds later gems to deliver an unforgettable collection of work. Her cool, clear gaze takes in vivid moments from childhood (check "The Stone" and the stunning image left by "The Iceberg") through to the unsentimental, yet very poignant, "Taking Leave" which deals with some of the problems of ageing and coming to terms with failing powers.

Tove Jansson was an extraordinary children's writer, and it's great to see some of her work for adults finally translated into English. And what a lovely job Sort Of have done: good, clean cover design, and intelligent use of photographs throughout. Ali Smith's introduction does justice to Jansson's writing. Very few children's authors have the capability to write for adults also. Tove Jansson's honesty, clarity and sense of humour shine throughout.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, funny, sympathetic, wise... 27 Nov. 2006
I can't resist sharing Body Tonkin's verdict on this wonderful book in The Independent. He devoted his entire column to a review, after first raging about the "snowdrift of Christmas drivel" filling bookshops this winter.

The ideal book for Christmas, he contended, would "honour the experiences and insights of children without sentiment or condescension. It might also salute the changing seasons with a toughly tender eye on wild nature. In doing so, it might even register the passage of time, and the ageing of body and mind, while steering clear of self-pity. And it might (like an unfeasibly flawless companion) contrive to sound charming, funny, sympathetic, wise - and a bit mysterious as well."

"What price would such a paragon command?" Tonkin continued. "£6.99 to be exact. Ideal presents never quite take on tangible form, but A Winter Book comes fairly close...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Finnish Childhood 28 Jun. 2012
By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER
A lovely selection of Jansson's short stories: a lot are recollections of her childhood with her artist parents- winters in Helsinki and summers on the offshore islands that feature in her better-known 'Summer Book'. I loved 'Snow'-her impressions of the thick all-encompassing snow; and 'the Iceberg' where she throws her torch into the hollow of the berg.
Later adult stories include 'the Squirrel' where a strange and isolated woman living on an island strikes up a love-hate relationship with a squirrel, and finally 'Taking Leave' where she and her partner finally have to leave the island as they're getting older.
A number of b/w photos throughout give added interest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful tales of being young, old and in a boat
This was a beautiful book, with tales about being both young and old. There were lots of tales about boats. It paints a wonderful picture of life in Finland. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sarah Tipper
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It was a present and was well received
Published 4 months ago by Prentice
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Delightful series of stories by an author I have admired for many years
Published 4 months ago by Misty
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent value quick delivery
Published 4 months ago by steph b
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As described, arrived in very rapid time. Thank you
Published 5 months ago by mr martin h pool
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend for hols or present
Bought 2 copies for 2 friends' Christmas presents. Good buy. Love Tave Jansson's sweet, kind expression.
Published 6 months ago by Charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful, thank you.
Published 7 months ago by susan cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved reading this book, it took me on a wonderful journey.
Published 7 months ago by Ruth
5.0 out of 5 stars Winter feast
Saving this book for winter nights! If A Summer Book was anything to go by,it will be a winter feast!
Published 12 months ago by Debsom
4.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely crafted
Exquisitely crafted,powerful sense of place, sensitive evocation of character. Deals with universal themes.Interesting illustrations. Effective lay out. Well worth reading.
Published 14 months ago by BP
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