“The True Deceiver glitters with the kind of sharpness that might just cut you … It is one of Jansson’s most deceptively quiet, most astonishing compositions.” (From Ali Smith’s introduction).
In the deep winter snows of a Swedish hamlet, a strange young woman fakes a break-in at the house of an elderly artist in order to persuade her that she needs companionship. But what does she hope to gain by doing this? And who ultimately is deceiving whom? In this portrayal of two women encircling each other with truth and lies, nothing can be taken for granted. By the time the snow thaws, both their lives will have changed irrevocably.
“A brilliantly realised evocation of a place blanketed by snow written in a prose that is never flat or dull.” Katie Law, Evening Standard
“A delightfully dark winter’s tale … the novel tracks an intense relationship between two strong-minded women.” Emma Hagestadt, Independent
“Jansson’s tale deserves as wide a readership as her beloved children’s books featuring the Moomins.” Kamila Shamsie, Guardian (Books of the Year)
“The most beautiful and satisfying novel I have read this year.” Ursula K Le Guin, Guardian (Books of the Year)
|202pp Original paperback with flaps : £8.99
Following the widely acclaimed and bestselling The Summer Book, here is a Winter Book collection of some of Tove Jansson’s best loved and most famous stories. Drawn from youth and older age, and spanning most of the twentieth century, this newly translated selection provides a thrilling showcase of the great Finnish writer’s prose, scattered with insights and home truths. It has been selected and is introduced by Ali Smith, and there are afterwords by Philip Pullman, Esther Freud and Frank Cottrell Boyce.
The Winter Book features thirteen stories from Tove Jansson’s first book for adults, The Sculptor’s Daughter (1968) along with seven of her most cherished later stories (from 1971 to 1996), translated into English and published here for the first time.
“As smooth and odd and beautiful as sea-worn driftwood, as full of light and air as the Nordic summer. We are lucky to have these stories collected at last.” Philip Pullman
“A Winter Book offers what proper books so peerlessly can – the sense of a unique and authentic voice that speaks to the reader across time and culture, heart to heart.” Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
|192pp Original paperback with flaps : £8.99
A CLASSIC – AND A BESTSELLER (100,00 COPIES IN THE UK)
An elderly artist and her six-year-old grand-daughter while away a summer together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. As the two learn to adjust to each other’s fears, whims and yearnings, a fierce yet understated love emerges – one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the very island itself.
Written in a clear, unsentimental style, full of brusque humour, and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story. Tove Jansson captured much of her own life and spirit in the book, which was her favourite of her adult novels. This new edition, with a Foreword by Esther Freud, sees the return of a European literary gem – fresh, authentic and deeply humane.
“A marvellous book … the prose is sublime.’ Murrough O’Brien, Independent on Sunday
“It’s hard to describe the astonishing achievement of Jansson’s artistry … a perfection of the small, quiet read.” The Guardian (Book of the Week)
“Jansson was a genius, a woman of profound wisdom and great artistry, and this is a book to treasure.” Philip Pullman
“Every so often, a book is published that captures something in us … The Summer Book is one of those.” Rachel Simhon, The Daily Telegraph
|160pp Original paperback with flaps : £8.99
TRANSLATED BY JOEL ROTENBERG
Christine toils in a provincial post office in Austria just after World War One, a country gripped by unemployment. Out of the blue, a telegram arrives from her rich American aunt inviting Christine to a resort in the Swiss Alps. Immediately she is swept up into a world of inconceivable wealth and unleashed desire. She feels herself utterly transformed: nothing is impossible. But then, abruptly, her aunt cuts her loose and Christine is forced to return to the Post office where nothing will ever be the same.
In this haunting yet compassionate reworking of the Cinderella story, Zweig shows us the human cost of the boom and bust of capitalism. The Post Office Girl was completed during the 1930s as Zweig was driven by the Nazis into exile, and was found among his papers after his suicide in 1942. It is available here for the first time in English.
Read John Banville’s review in The Guardian
If you’re wondering what Chris Stewart did before he and Ana moved to El Valero, their Spanish farm, here’s one of the answers. He took to the sea, landing a job as skipper for the summer, sailing a Cornish Crabber around the Greek islands. It was his dream job – and there was just one tiny problem. He hadn’t ever sailed before and had not the foggiest how to start.
In a series of madcap and hilarious adventures we follow Chris from a shaky start in Chichester harbour to his epic Odyssey to Spetses (a bucket would have been handy), and then on to the journey of a lifetime – battening down the hatches on a trip across the North Atlantic. It’s a journey crackling with Chris’s zest for life, irresistible humour, and unerring lack of foresight.
Dry land never looked more welcoming.
“A charming and lyrical read, awash with the joy of discovery.” Rory MacLean, The Guardian
“Possibly the one travel writer who is funnier than Bill Bryson.” The Traveller
|192pp hardback : £10.99 paperback : £7.99
|ISBN: 978-0956003812 (hardback) 978-0956003812 (hardback)
The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society finds Chris and his family still living on their farm, El Valero, and with its easy ‘Sun-Lit’ charm and funny, evocative anecdotes, it will draw in new and old readers alike.
You will find yourself laughing out loud as Chris is instructed by his daughter on local teenage mores; bluffs his way in art history to millionaire Bostonians; is rescued off a snowy peak by the Guardia Civil; and joins an Almond Blossom Appreciation Society.
You’ll cringe with Chris as he stries his hand at office work in an immigrants’ advice centre in Granada, spurred into action by the arrival of four destitute young Moroccans at El Valero. And you’ll never see olive oil in quite the same way again…
In this sequel to ‘Lemons’ and ‘Parrot’, Chris Stewart’s optimism and zest for life is as infectious as ever.
|240pp Original paperback : £7.99
Chris Stewart’s Driving over Lemons told the story of his move to a remote mountain farm in Las Alpujarras – an oddball region of Spain, south of Granada. Funny, insightful and real, the book became an international bestseller.
A PARROT IN A PEPPER TREE, the sequel to Lemons, follows the lives of Chris, Ana and their daughter, Chloë, as they get to grips with a misanthropic parrot who joins their home, Spanish school life, neighbours in love, their amazement at Chris appearing on the bestseller lists… and their shock at discovering that their beloved valley is once more under threat of a dam.
A Parrot in the Pepper Tree also looks back on Chris Stewart’s former life – the hard times shearing in midwinter Sweden (and driving across the frozen sea to reach island farms); his first taste of Spain, learning flamenco guitar as a 20-year old; and his illustrious music career, drumming for his school band Genesis (sacked at 17, he never quite became Phil Collins), and then for a circus.
|240pp Original paperback : £7.99
At age 17 Chris retired as the drummer of Genesis and launched a career as a sheep shearer and travel writer. He has no regrets about this. Had he become a big-time rock star he might never have moved with his wife Ana to a remote mountain farm in Andalucia. Nor forged the friendship of a lifetime with his resourceful peasant neighbour Domingo…not watched his baby daughter Chloë grow and thrive there…nor written this book.
Fate does sometimes seem to know what it’s up to.
Driving Over Lemons is that rare thing: a funny, insightful book that charms you from the first page to the last…and one that makes running a peasant farm in Spain seem like a distinctly gd move. Chris transports us to Las Alpujarras, an oddball region south of Granada, and into a series of misadventures with an engaging mix of peasant farmers and shepherds, New Age travellers and ex-pats. The hero of the piece, however, is the farm that he and Ana bought, El Valero – a patch of mountain studded with olive, almond and lemon groves, sited on the wrong side of a river, with no access road, water supply or electricity.
Could life offer much better than that?
|304pp Original paperback : £7.99