Every summer, Monica returns to her home village with her youngest son, which means that every summer all of her Facebook posts are in Finnish. Finland in the summer looks very cool and inviting. North Carolina summers are anything but cool, although they're quite beautiful and the tomatoes are delicious. Whenever I start feeling too jealous of Monica and her Finnish summers, I think about the fact that it's very hard to grow tomatoes in Finland.
I've been thinking about Monica this morning because I just purchased via Amazon a book by Finnish author Tove Jansson called The Summer Book. It was first published in the early 1970s, but is periodically reprinted. Apparently it's a classic of sorts. Here's how Amazon describes it:
This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.”
I think I'd like to spend the summer on an island, albeit one with tomatoes.