Women in Translation: Tove Jansson


Here’s another great book for Women in Translation Month.

The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson, was the first Finnish book I ever read, back when I was in my teens, and it made a tremendous impression on me.

It’s a quiet and vivid and philosophical book about a timid little girl spending the summer on an island with her tough, eccentric grandmother, and learning to be a little more tough and eccentric herself.

Jansson, who wrote in Finland Swedish, is best known for her Moomin books. In recent years there have been several English translations and re-issues of Jansson’s books for adults, and the 2003 reissue of The Summer Book, which was originally published in 1972 and first published in English just a couple of years later.

The English translation is by Thomas Teal, whom I’ve had the good fortune to meet, which was a thrill in a way I haven’t experienced meeting other translators I admire, because he wrote the words that were so meaningful to me as a young woman.

“Gathering is peculiar, because you see nothing but what you’re looking for. If you’re picking raspberries, you see only what’s red, and if you’re looking for bones you see only the white. No matter where you go, the only thing you see is bones.”

More Women in Translation

More Tove Jansson

~ by lolarusa on August 12, 2018.

One Response to “Women in Translation: Tove Jansson”

  1. This is such a wonderful book, and a wonderful introduction to it… I too have taken many lines from it; I worked some into my own rather fanciful review of it, written after 2 very very dark months in my life, and having read the book four times straight. Thank you for that wonderful excerpt, thanks https://readingwomenwritersworldwide.wordpress.com/contact/

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