(translated by Thomas Teal)
Written in 1972, this book is a curious and deceptively, simple pleasure.
A series of short stories featuring Sophia and her grandmother – which some consider should be seen as comprising a novel, although I don’t really see that the overarching structure is there too support that – living through a summer or two on one of the thousands of small “summer islands” that pepper the Gulf of Finland.
They have a small cabin, a boat, a cat or two, and they scratch at a small garden which occasionally produces some food. Life has slowed right down, the telling of it slows you right down, and you have look at the detail of things as Sophia and her grandmother do, and use your imagination as they do to see “The Magic Forest“, to appreciate “The Robe”, to be “Playing Venice” or to understand “Sophia’s Storm”.
It is a truism to say the we really only know Jansson through her Moomin stories / creatures, but she is appreciated in Scandinavia for her uncomplicated, serious but joyous, “grown-up” writing, as well, and rightly so.