Notes from an Island

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Pub Date Oct 22 2024 | Archive Date Oct 22 2024

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From a renowned artist and writer, a deeply personal nature journal that includes sketches from her romantic partner, artist Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä.

In the bitter winds of autumn 1963, Tove Jansson, helped by Brunström, a maverick fisherman, raced to build a cabin on a treeless island in the Gulf of Finland. The island was Klovharun, where for thirty summers Tove and her beloved partner, the visual artist, Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, lived, painted, and wrote, energized by the solitude and shifting seascapes. The island's flora, fauna, and weather patterns provided deep inspiration which can be seen reflected in all of Jansson's work, most famously in her bestselling novel The Summer Book and her longstanding comic strip and novels for children, Moomin. Tove's signature spare, quirky prose, and Tooti's subtle ink washes and aquatints combine to form a work of meditative beauty, a chronicle of living peacefully in nature and observing the island’s ecology and character. Notes from an Island is both a work of artistic collaboration and an homage to the deep love the two women shared. One feels as if Jansson’s journal, with Tooti’s sketches tucked inside, has been unearthed like a treasure from under a pile of old quilts in the back of their rustic cabin.
From a renowned artist and writer, a deeply personal nature journal that includes sketches from her romantic partner, artist Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä.

In the bitter winds of autumn 1963, Tove...

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ISBN 9781643264790
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Oh my, what a little treasure of a book! I've been a fan of Tove Jansson's Moomin stories for many years (even forgoing the more famous shops in Helsinki to search down some Moomin merch), but never knew much about her life. This short semi-diary is like the island where Jansson and her life partner lived for 20 years - spare, surprising, nothing wasted. In it we see Tove and Tooti build a tiny cabin, make friends with the birds, fish for their supper, and otherwise live a life far from the usual creature comforts (and the usual other creatures). Tove's beautiful prose is punctuated by several of Tooti's paintings, as spare and windy as the island itself.

Oh boy did I love this book, and I plan to love it again and again as it is short enough to read in a few hours. Originally this book was not available for request, but I wished for it, and Timber Press granted my request. I am so grateful to them and to NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Even at only a little over 125 pages, it's one of my best of the year so far.

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Notes from an Island by Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietilä and narrated by Sandi Toksvig is a short read but a beautiful one. As a GenXr who was absolutely in love with the Moomins, I jumped at the chance to read this book (after listening to the audiobook) which was co-authored by the artist of one of my favourite childrens books of all time

The couple want peace and quiet, a home away from others where they can be their true selves and live their art. They are determined to build their home and while the first is overrun by curious fans, they do not lose hope and go on to try again in a harsh and unforgiving environment, but warmed by their relationship and creativity

An absolutely wonderful book and highly recommended

Thank you to Netgalley, Timber Press, the author Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietilä for this beautiful ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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What a beautiful lovely memoir/notes on living on an island in Northern Europe. Sprinkled with paintings, notes and an essay. Nature and humans at their best. Thank you to #netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.

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This short, charming book is a largely unstructured set of reminiscences by Tove Jansson, the wonderful creator of the Moomins, about her time spent on an isolated island off of Finland with her partner, artist Tuulikki Pietilä. It isn’t a narrative but rather an ad hoc mixture of diary entries, musing, vague recollections, and anecdotes. Jansson’s spare prose conveys the wildness of the island and ocean, her joy in simple companionship, her love/hate relationship with the island, and no small amount of melancholy. Like the prints that illustrate the book, it is ill-defined but great fodder for musing and speculation.

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Notes from an Island is a short but beautiful memoir of the Moomins creator Tove Janson, and the time she spent on an Islolated Island with her partner, artist Tuulikki Pietilä. It is quite unstructured and a bit random, but is easy to follow, and the beauty and the hardship come across easily.
The wildlife, nature and harsh environment are detailed throughout. It is a unique book that describes an equally unique place and well known author. A very interesting and unusual way of life. described in a treasure of a book.

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This little book was a captivating delight from start to finish. I adored the art and photographs and found myself connecting a lot to the feelings this book explored. I was already familiar with Jansson from my (and my children’s) love of Moominvalley. But this work of non-fiction made me want to seek out Jansson’s book of letters to add to my nightstand, as I was not ready to part from her or her island when I came to the last page.

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