A New York Review Books Original
Winner of the 2009 Bernard Shaw Prize for Translation
Fair Play is the type of love story that is rarely told, a revelatory depiction of contentment, hard-won and exhilarating.
Mari is a writer and Jonna is an artist, and they live at opposite ends of a big apartment building, their studios connected by a long attic passageway. They have argu
“There is no silence like sitting in a fog at sea and listening,” writes Tove Jansson in her newly-translated story collection Fair Play. “Large boats can loom up suddenly, and you don’t hear the bow water in time to start your motor and get out of the way.” Stuck waiting out a dense, chilling fog in a row boat somewhere between the coast of a small Finnish island and Estonia, Jansson’s aging companions, Jonna an...more
The timing of this read could not have been more appro...more
“Mari,” said Jonna, “sometimes you’re really a little too obvious.”...more
“Do you think? But once in a while a person just needs to say what
I waited and waited until I could order it up and when it came in the mail I was ecstatic to get it...it did not disappoint.
It's a slight little thing, made up of short stories about two women, a couple, and the little things that their lives are made up. It's not really a collection of short stories though, since although the stories can exist by themselves, they are a part of a greater body, of a novel, about thes...more
The difficulty I had was with the book's subtlety. If we are to believe the person who wrote the foreword, the stories are filled to the brim with meaning, and meaning of the highest caliber at that. However, due to the degree of the author's subtlety, I frequently found myself questioning if the symbolism I was interpreting into the stories was what the author inten...more
This is a novel, or a series of (short) short stories, or vignettes, or something of all three of these about Joanna and Mari two friends/companions/lovers (or all three – it doesn’t matter) who live,...more
Each narrative looks at a small incident, usually involving a third party, which disturbs their equilibrium. Initially Mari and Jonna might seem like an unusually cerebral pair. They live in close proximity to one ano...more
That doesn't look very appealing based on synopsis alone. But the Finnish author Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is a peerless practitioner of concision. Her work is precise an...more
The room had four windows because the sea was equally beautiful in all directions. Now, as autumn approached, the island was visited by exotic birds on their way south, and s
Art and work and life come together.
Two friends and artists, Jonna and Mari, who live together, and have become more than friends. Little stories about their lives, togetherness, separation.
Simple and meaningful images of nature and adventure - islands in the Baltic, boats in fog, visits to Tuscon, a little apartment where their studios are separated by a hallway, to give each other space to think and create.
This is also a love story. Delicate, sparse in detail, gentle in...more
This is a beautiful portrait of the relationship of two women who are getting old. Under the stories of mundane moments, vacations, bad guests and learning new skills runs the theme of loving another person. I don't usually get moved my love stories, but this one was so unusual in its understated tone, and that the protagonists are both women, and that they are old, and have already spent their lives together before the book even start...more
"Fair Play" is a series of vignettes from the lives of two aging women living on an island off Finland. Mari is a writer and illustrator; Jonna is an artist. They work. They watch movies. Occasionally they travel. Occasionally someone comes to visit. Jonna dominates Mari a little, but they lov...more
Like her other collections, The Summer Book and A Winter Boo...more
Essentially a loose collection of vignettes of the lives of two artists, perhaps Jansson's touch is just a mite too gentle for my frame of mind of lat...more
This was such an inspiring book, about relationships, love, the practice of art. It's stayed with me days after finishing, so thought-provoking. Just incredible, I cannot recommend it enough.
Although known first and foremost as an author, Tove Jansson considered her careers as author and painter to be of equal importance.
Tove Jansson wrote and illustrated her first Moomin...more