Tove Jansson. The Summer Book (SortOf Books 2003 (1974)).
Her favorite adult novel, an odd & oddly moving study of a summer made of many summers with a six year old & her grandmother (& her father but he’s mostly in the background) doing things together on a small island in the gulf of Finland, having magnificently strange conversations, & noticing the world, especially the little details of nature around them. Jansson (at least in this translation by Thomas Teal) achieves a cool distance in a seemingly simple style that nevertheless reveals more than you might expect of how (especially) the child perceives & understands the changes they both go through (although it also catches the old woman’s simplifying thought as she approaches her death, a precise cutting away of superfluities while she also enters the child’s vision of both the nature around them & herself). Written in the 70s & also looking back further, it devises/re-presents a world that feels, now, as distant as the medieval one. There’s wonderful humour, a terrific sense of the wavering devotion between the two (the kid can get angry but never loses her love for her grandmother; the old woman is deeply devoted, to both her place & her people, not least when she gets a bit impatient with her grand-daughter). It’s a story full of tiny stories that is really a meditation on the inevitable loss that love endures.