Notes from an Island
Tove Jansson, Tuulikki Pietila, Thomas Teal
In the bitter winds of autumn 1963, Tove Jansson, helped by Brunstroem, a maverick fisherman, raced to build a cabin on a treeless skerry in the Gulf of Finland. The island was Klovharun, and for thirty summers Tove and her beloved partner, the graphic artist, Tuulikki Pietila, retreated there to live, paint and write, energised by the solitude and shifting seascapes.
Notes from an Island, published in English for the first time, is both a chronicle of this period and a homage to the mature love that Tove and ‘Tooti’ shared for their island and for each other. Tove’s spare prose, and Tuulikki’s subtle washes and aquatints combine to form a work of meditative beauty.
‘… Tooti wandered aimlessly around the island and stood stock still for long periods. I thought I knew what she was doing.
She was working again. Copperplate etchings and wash drawings. Mostly the lagoon, the lagoon as a consummate mirror for clouds and birds, the lagoon in a storm, in fog. And the granite, first and foremost, the granite, the cliff, the rocks. It’s all peace and quiet now.’
It's hard to describe the astonishing achievement of Tove Jansson's artistry -- Ali Smith The Summer Book's limpid style belies a deep psychological subtlety. It's about how people can live close together for months with tact and grace, and about how rich and rewarding even a small world can be. -- Melissa Harrison * Guardian *
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