Sophias storm

Den sommaren nämndes inte med sitt årtal utan blev endast ihågkommen som sommaren med den stora stormen. Inte i mannaminne hade sådana vågor gått genom Finska Viken […]


© Förlaget, Helsingfors

Sophias Sturm
Translated by Dorothea Bjelfvenstam

Jener Sommer wurde nicht mit seiner Jahreszahl genannt, sondern man erinnerte sich an ihn nur als an den Sommer mit dem großen Sturm. So lange man denken konnte, hatte es im Finnischen Meerbusen nicht solche Wellen gegeben, [...]


© Förlaget, Helsingfors

  • Featured locations
    Gulf of Finland Finska Viken, Norra Gråskär, Östra Nyland
  • Impact

    Sommarboken (The Summer Book) is one of Jansson’s earliest works for grownup readers, who were gradually to become her target readership. The diction of the book, its acuity of observation and its mundane sagacity, mark it out as belonging both to the Moomin universe and to that of adults. It is steeped in both, and it questions the difference between the two. In the latest English edition (2003, translation: Thomas Teal) it is called a novel. This is not generically self-evident – the chapters are quite self-contained – but in accordance with the author’s original intention.

    Tove Jansson was an avid traveller, who liked to write while abroad: she liked to focus her topics from a distance. Much of The Summer Book was written in New Orleans, in many ways an antipode of the skerry where it is set. It revolves around an elderly artist – the author’s mother, who had died in 1970 – and her six-year-old granddaughter, Sophia. They spend a summer together on a tiny island off Helsinki, in the Gulf of Finland. The island is a living presence in the book, on a par with the people on it. Summer passes exploring, talking about life, nature, everything but their feelings about Sophia's mother's death and their love for one another.

    The Summer Book started out as a book which after Jansson’s highly successful career in draughtsmanship seemed almost ostentatiously non-illustrated.  Gradually Jansson provided it with drawings, and late yet authorized editions even exhibit photographs of the protagonists, including the island itself. There is a film version of it, and a CD read by the author (in Swedish; this particular chapter is lacking). The book itself is Jansson’s most widely read book for adult readers.

  • Balticness

    The title of this book – whereof “Sophia’s Storm” is one of the final chapters – can be said to be almost hypercorrect, generic. The gist of the novel is the very idea of summer, the rhythm and marvel and intensity of summer, as celebrated by Northern people out of hibernation for an all-too transient part of the year.

    Clas Zilliacus

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    Danish 1976 Asta Hoff-Jørgensen 
    English 1974 Thomas Teal
    Estonian 1995 Tõnis Arnover
    Finnish 1973 Kristiina Kivivuori 
    German 1976 Dorothea Bjelfvenstam
    German 2002 Birgitta Kicherer
    Latvian 2005 Dace Deniņa
    Norwegian 1973 Gunnel Malmström
    Polish 1980 Zygmunt Lanowski
  • Year of first publication
  • Place of first publication
    Stockholm / Helsingfors
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