Monday 22 September 2014

Tove Jansson's Summer Book in an Indian summer is a treat indeed. Her island in the Gulf of Finland comes through in tiny luxuriance on this third reading; every stone, every path and plant, the warm and prickly relationship between the grandmother and the granddaughter, the questions they ask each other, the many ways they avoid replying. I first read it when I was clearing out my father's house after his death, staying up the road so as not to have to try to sleep at the scene of such exhaustive anguish. The second time, at home, I read it for itself, for the grandmother and granddaughter and their playfulness, their questions, not to avoid my father or to quell him. This third time I read free and clear for all of us, daughters and grandmothers, aunts and mothers, islanders, who occupy a scrupulous territory and spend time figuring how to say so.

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