by Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietila - £12.99 Sort of Books (2021)
hardback ISBN 13: 9781908745934 | ISBN 10: 1908745932
We dreamed about what our new cabin would look like. The room would have four windows, one in each wall. Towards the south-east we’d need to see the big storms that rage right across the island, on the east we’d see the moon’s reflection in the lagoon, and on the west side a rock face with moss and polypody ferns. To the north, we’ll keep watch for approaching boats so we’ll have time to get ready...
In her late-forties, Tove Jansson, helped by a maverick seaman called Brunström, raced to build a cabin on an almost barren outcrop of rock in the Gulf of Finland. The island was Klovharun, and for twenty-six summers Tove and her life partner, the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä (‘Tooti’), 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 memoir and homage to the island the two women loved intensely and relinquished only when pressed by age. It is also a unique collaboration between two artists. Tove’s spare, precise prose – diary entries, vignettes and extracts from Brunström’s log – frame the subtle washes and aquatints created by Tooti. Together they form a work of meditative beauty.
(Price & availability last checked: October 2021)
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