Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Scuptor's Daughter

The website - Tove - acts as a virtual museum and story of the life of author, Tove Jansson. Known for her books for children written about the lives of the Moomins, Tove Jansson also wrote a number of books, including a series of short stories, for adults, some of which have been translated into English and may be found in library collections.

The Sculptor's Daughter is a collection of short stories based on memories of the author's early life. Although not an autobiography, as such, the stories are based on events or memories of childhood. The stories provides a glimpse into the life of child living in a bohemian lifestyle on an island. Tove's father was a sculptor, Viktor Jansson while her mother was an artist, Signe Hammarsten-Jansson. The other adult who influenced her upbringing was her grandfather who was a minister so religion was to the forefront when staying with him. The stories are told of memories of life through the eyes of a child and contain a mixture of realism with fantasy. The short stories of Tove Jannson should be read slowly and enjoyed.

Travelling Light

A collection of short stories by Tove Jansson, now translated into English. The stories deal with people facing unpredictable situations and challenges -a man reluctantly travelling and forgetting the name of his hotel, an artist visiting an apartment where she once lived to find that a former friend has changed their life story, a lecturer staying in an English conclave in Spain finds herself sorting out disputes between the residents instead of the quietness that she had anticipated and a family deciding how to cope with a young visitor who disrupts their life are just a selection of the situations provided in this collection of short stories for the reader to contemplate.

Fighting on the Home Front

During the past month I have been concentrating on researching my family history research. Researching an individual or a family can often lead to undertaking research on a broader topic - in this case, women in England during the First World War.

Fighting on the Home Front: the legacy of women in Wold War One by Kate Adie (2013) is a good book for an overview of the effect of the war on the lives of women in England. With so many men fighting overseas women stepped in to keep essential services operating and also to assist with the war effort in England and overseas. Some of the work was paid but much was voluntary following on the practice of voluntary work undertaken by many women prior to the war. The skills of these women were put to good use not only in supporting the war effort but also in supporting women whose roles had dramatically changed during this period of conflict.

The Virago Book of Women and the Great War 1914-1918, edited by Joyce Marlow (1998). This is a chronological account of events that occurred from 1914 to 1918 from the perspective of women. The book contains excerpts from newspaper articles, books, diaries, correspondence, memoirs portraying the effect of the war on women in many countries, including England, involved in the fighting and the social changes that followed.

Singled Out: how two million women survived with out men after the First World War by Virginia Nicholson (2007) looks at the plight of women who had been brought up to believe that they would marry and have families but, because of the large numbers of men killed and wounded during the war, were to remain single. The book looks at stories of women who found different ways of coping in a new world and the wide reaching social changes and, sometimes, opportunities that opened for some women after the war.