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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solitary Island
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...
Published on 6 Feb. 2009 by Oliver Redfern

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Retrospective?
A bit too fey for me. I think Miss Jansson was pleasing herself rather than her readers, but having said that, I did read it to the end which says something, although I'm not quite sure what.
Published on 8 Jan. 2013 by Pippa M


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solitary Island, 6 Feb. 2009
This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
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 "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
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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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all seasons..., 22 Jan. 2007
This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
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
By 
M. Ellingham "Mark Ellingham" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, delicate, full of love and precise observation, 21 Jan. 2013
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K. Lycett - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Retrospective?, 8 Jan. 2013
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A bit too fey for me. I think Miss Jansson was pleasing herself rather than her readers, but having said that, I did read it to the end which says something, although I'm not quite sure what.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winter Book will appeal to those who love the Summerbook, 4 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
Delightful and inciteful stories from Tove Jannson's life, a nice follow-up for those who have appreciated her most wonderful Summerbook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snow is no comfort blanket, 7 July 2010
This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
Just such wonderful stuff is snow and cold as it piles up around and creates that inner cosy glow - not so much so with Jansson who brings childhood perils and the inner child's vulnerability into the cold winter light. Simplicity of expression but the child's ability to see the world for the first time make this a wonderful winterland of jeopardy and discovery. Like it a lot. Time to read the Summer Book now. If you like her work, try a grown-up's transforming world-view, like this: Paradise Now
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's be a little more 'objective'...., 18 Mar. 2007
By 
R. T. (North Yorkshire UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
This review is per pro the Appleton Book Club (6? members) from N.Yorkshire and we had previously read The Summer Book.

We did not think, on one reading, that this collection of short stories was equal to The Summer Book. Some of the first stories in the collection were felt to be a tad muddled, though the word 'muddled' doesn't quite say it and no one will want to read an essay on it here.

However, overall consensus was that it was a pleasure and privelege to read it. Snow, The Iceberg, The Squirrel and; Taking Leave all received a lot of praise with many other enduring images to treasure from amongst the other stories.

Jansson has a fantastic gift for selecting almost miraculously appropriate observations in order to describe a thing with tedium defying brevity.

The book continues, understandably enough, Jansson's theme of the child mind and the child-like, and the insights into the realities of the human experience which this view point can reveal. Although, again, read The Summer Book for the ultimate expression (?) of Jansson's thoughts on this, the convergence/divergence between youth and old age.

The book itself publ. by 'Sort of Books' is well laid out, easy to read, pleasant to hold and has several insightful and appropriate black and white photo's from the Jansson (?) archive. It is a short read which will gift to you many 'permanent possessions of the mind'.

Happy reading,

R.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Sort Of Books, 2 Nov. 2006
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This review is from: A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson (Paperback)
Well done for reissuing the fantastic The Summer Book last time, and even better, for giving us something new by Tove Jansson now. There's a wealth of material there, and wonderful as the Moomin books are, it's great to have the chance to read more of her adult writing. One of the best writers ever. More please.
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A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson
A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson by Tove Jansson (Paperback - 2 Nov. 2006)
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