Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book

Alas, summer has ended but autumn is starting and I wait with anticipation for the joys of warm jumpers, hot cups of tea, falling leaves and conkers.

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This year is the hundred-year anniversary of Tove Jansson’s birthday. A Swedish speaking Finnish author and illustrator  She is the world-renowned  author of the Moomin stories, and is not recognised for her novels for adults particularly.

Anyone fascinated in the changing of the seasons would do well to read Tove Jansson’s  The Summer Book, originally published in the 1970s and based loosely on Tove’s own experiences of life in the isles. A beautifully understated book about nothing, and everything.

 ‘it was just the same long summer, always, and everything lived and grew at its own  pace’ (41)

 It is a very simple story with two main characters and barely any plot- it is simply about the  everyday happenings of a grandmother and her six-year old granddaughter on an island in  the gulf of Finland. Each chapter is split into snapshots of their lives together exploring  the island, playing in the sea and witnessing the changing seasons together. But don’t let  the novel’s simplicity put you off for underneath the charming descriptions of nature are  real important discussions on love, death and family told through the voices of a naive little girl and her wise artistic grandmother.

Having been to Finland this summer and seen the beautiful islands of Finland I was really intrigued to read Tove’s portrayal of the Finnish isles, and I recommend this to anyone interested in travel, the seasons and rediscovering the pleasures of reading.

More information on her works can be found here:


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