Tove Jansson’s last original collection of short stories
The rich seam that is Jansson’s adult prose continues with this penultimate collection of short stories (the last containing all new stories), written in her seventies at the height of her Moomin fame. It has been translated into English for the first time. In these light-footed, beautifully crafted yet disquieting stories, Jansson tells of discomfiting encounters, unlooked for connections and moments of isolation that span generations and decades. Whether writing from the perspective of a bewildered young artist, a resilient child or an irascible elderly correspondent, Letters From Klara proves yet again her mastery of this literary form.
Thomas Teal has won the Rochester Best Translated Book Award and the Bernard Shaw Prize for Translation (twice) for his translations of Tove Jannson’s fiction.
In this second Encircling book, set on the backwater island of Otterøya, Tiller continues the singular premise of his prizewinning trilogy. David, the enigmatic and absent central character, has lost his memory. At the behest of his psychiatrist, three friends send in letters about the childhood they shared. We hear from Ole, a hardworking, naive, farmer struggling on the brink of marital breakdown; from Tom Roger, a musclebound outsider fearful of spiraling into domestic violence; and from Paula, a midwife retired to an old people’s home, where she guards explosive secrets of her own and David’s past.
Using a carefully scored polyphony of voices, and unflinching domestic focus, Tiller shows how deeply identity is influenced by our friendships. The Encirclingtrilogy presents an epic saga of Norwegian life that is both starkly honest and unnervingly true.
‘A scabrous satire of the contemporary art world and its love affair with neuroscience. Hilariously funny.’ Simon Critchley
‘I bloody loved it!’ Gary Hume
In this mordantly dark satire, Simon Bill brings together two very disparate worlds; the endlessly fascinating and strangely implausible world of neuroscientific research and the equally strange, drug-fuelled and novelty-obsessed London contemporary art scene. Providing the link is Bill’s drunken anti-hero, an abstract artist down on his luck who lands a residency at a shiny new neurological research institute. Between an endless round of private views (attended to siphon the free booze and ingratiate himself with dealers) Bill’s hapless artist sets out to revive his stalled career, and love life, with a neuro-inspired art show. His new job might also help him cope with his own neurological deficits – a lousy sense of direction and alcoholic blackouts.
Artist in Residence will have you laughing out loud at the spotlight grabbing antics of aspiring artists and curators while fascinating you with insights into the workings of the human brain.
It is the summer of 1947. A novice Lutheran priest, his wife and baby daughter arrive at a windswept island off the coast of Finland, where they are welcomed by its frugal, self-sufficient community of fisher folk turned reluctant farmers. In this deeply atmospheric and quietly epic tale, Lundberg uses a wealth of everyday detail to draw us irresistibly into a life and mindset far removed from our own – stoic and devout yet touched with humour and a propensity for song. With each season, the young family’s love of the island and its disparate and scattered inhabitants deepens, and when the winter brings ice, new and precarious links appear. Told in spare, simple prose that mirrors the islanders’ unadorned style, this is a story as immersive as it is heartrending.
In this small but perfectly formed collection of supernatural short stories, Sophie Hannah takes the comforting scenes of everyday life and imbues them with a frisson of fear, then a gust of terror. Why is a young woman so unnerved by the presence of a visitors book in her boyfriend’s inner-city home? And whose spidery handwriting is it that fills the pages? Who is the strangely courteous boy still lingering at a child’s tenth birthday party when all the parents have gathered their children and left? And why does the presence of a perfectly ordinary woman in a post office queue leave another customer pallid and quaking with fear?
David has lost his memory. A newspaper advert appears asking friends and relatives to share their memories of him. Three respond: his two closest teenage friends, and his stepfather, now estranged, from his backwater hometown of Namsos. Their reminiscences of teenage nihilism and rebellion, the eroticism and uncertainties of first love, and intense experiments in art and music, are framed by present day scenes of lives run aground on thwarted ambition and intimacy.
Told in letters, interleaved with internal monologues and commentaries, Encircling provides a dark, searingly honest portrait of life at the edges of provincial Norway. Yet for all its apparent bleakness, Tiller’s remarkable opening novel of the Encircling Trilogy pulses with humanity and truth. As each narrative colours and reshapes the last, the enigma that is David continues to intrigue us.
336pp B Format deluxe Pbk with flaps: £8.99: Pub June 3rd 2014
From the bestselling author of Driving Over Lemons
‘You just can’t fail to like him and the world he spreads out for you…Mr Stewart is that rare thing, the real McCoy.’The Guardian
It’s two decades since Chris Stewart moved to his farm on the wrong side of a river in the mountains of southern Spain and his daughter Chlöe is preparing to fly the nest for university. In this latest, typically hilarious dispatch from El Valero we find Chris, now a local literary celebrity, using his fame to help his old sheep-shearing partner find work on a raucous road trip; cooking a TV lunch for visiting British chef, Rick Stein; discovering the pitfalls of Spanish public speaking; and recalling his own first foray into the adult world of work.
Yet it’s at El Valero, his beloved sheep farm, that Chris remains in his element as he, his wife Ana and their assorted dogs, cats and sheep weather a near calamitous flood and emerge as newly certified organic farmers. His cash crop? The lemons and oranges he once so blithely drove over, of course.
Nat Jansz of Sort Of Books says: Unlike the rest of us, Chris Stewart’s irrepressible wit, inclusive spirit, even his wild optimism seem to strengthen as he gets older. His latest crop of anecdotes had us laughing out loud and wishing we were at El Valero picking oranges. Last Days of the Bus Club’s an unqualified hoot.’
Chris Stewart says: ‘I know it’s taken a long time, but these books are natural hand-reared products. You have to let the things happen to you, masticate and digest them. This has to be done properly in order to get them into regurgitatable form; and then the regurgitation – well, as the Spanish would have it – ‘No es moco de pavo’, or it’s not turkey-snot (or, more delicately, no picnic). In this case, our daughter, Chloé, leaving home for the greater world outside the Alpujarra proved the rite of passage that got me thinking. Now there’s just the two of us, Ana and me, making a go of the farm at last and taking stock of all the stories. Here are some of them; I hope you enjoy them.’
240pp Original paperback : £8.99: Pub date 4th June 2014
Aunt Gerda – the good listener – fears the encroaching forgetfulness of old age. Her solution is to create an artwork that will record and, inevitably, betray the secrets long confided in her. So begins Jansson’s short story debut, a tour de force of scalpel-sharp narration that takes us from a disquieting homage to the artist Edward Gorey, to perfect evocations of childhood innocence and recklessness, to a city ravaged by storms, or the slow halting thaw of spring. These stories are gifts of originality and depth.
The Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson achieved worldwide fame as the creator of the Moomin stories, written between 1945 and 1970 and still in print in more than twenty languages. However, the Moomins were only a part of her prolific output. Already admired in Nordic art circles as a painter, cartoonist and illustrator, she would go on to write a series of classic and acclaimed novels and short stories. The Listener, translated here for the first time into English, was Jansson’s debut short story collection, written in 1970.
160pp B Format deluxe Pbk with flaps: £8.99: Pub June 10th 2014
The Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson achieved worldwide fame as the creator of the Moomin stories, written between 1945 and 1970 and still in print in more than twenty languages. However, the Moomins were only a part of her prolific output. Already admired in Nordic art circles as a painter, cartoonist and illustrator, she would go on to write a series of classic novels and short stories. She remains Scandinavia’s best loved author.
Tove Jansson’s work reflected the tenets of her life. Love and work was the motto she chose for herself and her approach to both was joyful and uncompromising. If her relationships with men were shaded by an ambivalence towards marriage, those with women came as a revelation, especially the love and companionship she found with her long-time partner, the artist Tuulikki Pietilä, with whom she shared her solitary island of Klovharu.
In this meticulously researched, authorised biography, Boel Westin draws together the many threads of Jansson’s life: from the studies interrupted to help her family; the bleak war years and her emergence as an artist with a studio of her own; to the years of Moomin-mania, and later novel writing. Based on numerous conversations with Tove, and unprecedented access to her journals, letters and personal archives, Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words offers a rare and privileged insight into the world of a writer whom Philip Pullman described, simply, as ‘a genius’.
576pp Royal hardback: 180 illustrations. 24pp colour: £25.00
A deluxe edition of Tove Jansson’s first ever book for adults
Contains 20 archive photos
With an introduction by Ali Smith
Translated by Kingsley Hart
Tove Jansson’s first book for adults drew on her childhood memories to capture afresh the enchantments and fears of growing up in Helsinki in the 1910s and 20s. Described as both a memoir and ‘a book of superb stories’ by Ali Smith, Jansson’s startlingly evocative prose offers a glimpse of the mysteries of winter ice, the bonhomie of balalaika parties, and the vastness of Christmas viewed from beneath the tree.
This deluxe hardback with rare images from the Jansson family archive will make a perfect Christmas gift.
Publication 7th November 2013
192pp Deluxe B format hardback; quarter bound: £9.99