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30 review for Sun City

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    I've always wondered why more books weren't written about the elderly, yet so many books are written about the young. Maybe we can all look back on youth, but we don't know much about being old. Maybe we only want to write about being old when we're old, and when we get to be old, we're too tired to write about it. Or maybe being old is too depressing and boring while being young is romantic and idealized. Or maybe these books are being written, but are just not very marketable or "sexy" so you I've always wondered why more books weren't written about the elderly, yet so many books are written about the young. Maybe we can all look back on youth, but we don't know much about being old. Maybe we only want to write about being old when we're old, and when we get to be old, we're too tired to write about it. Or maybe being old is too depressing and boring while being young is romantic and idealized. Or maybe these books are being written, but are just not very marketable or "sexy" so you never hear about them. In any case, if you're interested in insightful, entertaining fiction about the elderly, you really can't do much better than this book (which was written by Jansson when she herself was relatively old, I think). It is sad and funny and intensely moving. If you've read The Summer Book, the only other Jansson book for adults that I've read, and one that's much more popularly read than this one, then you can expect some of the same elements--the episodic nature of the novel (though there is more of an overall arc here, and the final chapter definitely feels like the end of a novel), the simple yet powerful language, the personalities that are very much alive. In fact, this book is just as good as The Summer Book, if not slightly better, and it's sad that it's so overlooked. Jansson writes about a retirement community in St. Petersburg Florida: the cast of characters are all unique and they all get on each other's nerves in different ways, though they do seem to enjoy it in a strange comforting way. The sadness in this book is very rarely explicit, but skillfully woven inside of the humor and the stories and the mood--there is a general sense of futility, of aimlessness, of the silliness of busy youth contrasted with the emptiness of age. This book is now sadly out of print. If it weren't for my trusty public library, I would not have read it. I hope some publisher like NYRB Classics (hint, hint) will bring it back into print. Some quotes: It was possible that the strictly frontal placement of the rocking chairs, parallel to each other and facing straight ahead, was the only practical arrangement. It is probably difficult, thought Mrs. Morris, to place rocking chairs in groups, that is, rocking toward each other. It would take a great deal of space, and in the long run it might be tiresome. Of course the original, the natural idea was a single rocking chair in motion in an otherwise static room. p. 9 She forgot to mention fear of her room--the room you leave open behind you can be full of pitiful carelessness. You have to hide away the signs and appurtenances of old age, small anesthetic oversights, all the supporting constructions of helplessness, so unnoticed and so obvious. p.10 Dear Madonna, Linda whispered, let me make love to Joe on the banks of the jungle river. And then by your grace we will wade out into the water and swim slowly away together, farther and farther away. She reached up and switched on the Madonna's lamp, not for the light but to pay respect. Then she folded her hands on her lovely stomach and fell asleep. p 22 Because Mr. Thompson was a woman hater, he thought about women a lot. p. 26 I begin to believe that a person really can die from such a thing as grief. Our predicament, Miss Frey, is that that means of making an exit is no longer open to us. Grief, Miss Frey, is very pure and strong, and it requires a great love. It is not the same as being unhappy. p. 74 Tim Tellerton knew that nothing could be squandered as easily as beauty. It was seldom esteemed at its full value while it stood in bloom, and later on it was preserved at the expense of far too much trouble and despair. p. 138 What was a conversation, and what could it mean? Mutual consideration of important things. Communication of experience and memory. Construction of possibilities for the future. To clarify and recognize together, and to observe the changes in a glance, a tone of voice, a silence--the silence of hesitation or understanding. To shape without altering. To laugh, or to sit quietly in common shyness that was never expressed. p. 160 Since Miss Frey, like most people, took slightly longer steps with her right leg than with her left, she moved in a large circle that eventually brought her back toward Silver Springs. p. 209

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joseflagerkvist

    Lite snålt, men handlar om äldre som väntar på å dö. För nära min begynnande ålderskris, tror jag.

  3. 4 out of 5

    VeganMedusa

    Like Cannery Row, but with old white people.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ademption

    Tove Jansson is one of my favourite writers, because she is wild, dreamy, flinty, and if her novels are to be believed, sensibly unafraid of all people, and completely unconcerned about their thoughts and judgements. She seems to be a mad, sweet loner, a people-watching misanthrope, who loved and tried to understand the individuals who bothered to approach her. Jansson was a Fenno-Swede, meaning she was part of a Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. White on white in a translucent wonderland, ri Tove Jansson is one of my favourite writers, because she is wild, dreamy, flinty, and if her novels are to be believed, sensibly unafraid of all people, and completely unconcerned about their thoughts and judgements. She seems to be a mad, sweet loner, a people-watching misanthrope, who loved and tried to understand the individuals who bothered to approach her. Jansson was a Fenno-Swede, meaning she was part of a Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. White on white in a translucent wonderland, right? Regardless of whether subtle distinctions inform her work, she's most well-known for her children's novels and comics about a family of hippopotamus-like creatures called Moomins, which is an international cartoon brand on par with Barapapa. Later in life, Jansson wrote a series of novels, ostensibly for adults. I like these more, since her singular voice, full of gentle harshness, is more direct. It is the same voice, but without a gloss for children. In her adult novels, she calmly observes more absurdity, more madness, and more people behaving in very irrational but typical modes, unmediated by the sweetness of cartoon figments. Sun City centers around a retirement home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Of all places, a Fenno-swede decided to write about my university town! I knew it was a book about the elderly, but the setting really surprised me. At the liberal arts school I attended, there were retirement homes and senior condominiums nearby, some with overlapping economic interests, board members, and nebulous but vaguely shady though clearly contractual links to the college. Certain famous though obscure people retired to these places. I remember Peter Handke's name adorned plaques and symposia materials around the college. Though I never did see him in person, it was clear that he was a resident nearby, and to stave off boredom, he occasionally came over to participate in academic matters as some sort of unofficial writer emeritus. In another such exchange, a friend and I had dinner with a retired Broadway actress. She'd married old money and settled nearby and liked to regale college students with stories of transatlantic New York City, using "cookie" as a term of endearment for everyone. Sun City reminded me of these strange but genuine undercurrents that run between the main population of retirees and everyone else in Florida coastal towns. How the Florida coast is God's waiting room. How all sorts of people from everywhere shed their once-glamorous skins or sell off their businesses, and since they can't afford California living or are just too weird for that other sunny state, they rock in rocking chairs, passing the rest of their time in Florida. The book is a collection of some such retirees, living together, and gently tormenting one another with their opposing quirks. There's even a once-famous character, much like the old Broadway star, milling among the philistines of his generation, polite, patient, and completely forgotten. Did Jansson at one time occupy this role as a strange, wild-eyed Nordic retiree who did something vaguely fantastic but obscure, known to no one in a land of sunny forgetfulness? Or maybe she was a tourist, visiting friends. Either way, she accurately captures this milieu.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Madde

    Förväntade mig att ta mig igenom denna på en dag, men var tyvärr så uttråkad genom alla 170 sidor att jag inte kunde läsa så mycket åt gången. Kände inte suget att fortsätta läsa när jag la ner den, det tog mig tre dagar att ta mig igenom denna bok.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Frank McGirk

    I feel a little guilty giving one star...it wasn't terrible, but it just wasn't good enough to warrant my reading time when I have stacks of books that also interest me. It's a short novel, but 1/4 of the way in and I felt relieved putting it down. I was excited when I picked this up at the library discard table as I absolutely loved her Summer Book. The writing was solid in this one, and perhaps I should have given it a little more time, but I kept thinking I should re-read Muriel Spark's Memen I feel a little guilty giving one star...it wasn't terrible, but it just wasn't good enough to warrant my reading time when I have stacks of books that also interest me. It's a short novel, but 1/4 of the way in and I felt relieved putting it down. I was excited when I picked this up at the library discard table as I absolutely loved her Summer Book. The writing was solid in this one, and perhaps I should have given it a little more time, but I kept thinking I should re-read Muriel Spark's Memento Mori instead.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sanna Carlborg

    Dåligt: brist på handling, rörigt uppbyggd. Bra: en av få böcker med åldringar i huvudrollen, cyniskt komisk, ofta fina formuleringar, träffande personporträtt.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Clara

    En bok om massor av gamlingar. Inget händer och allt är oklart.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bjorn

    I'd like to help him but everything's become so difficult to explain, the things I say are neither accepted or dismissed, they're just something an old person said. When Tove Jansson visited the US in the early 70s she saw a Florida retirement community and was astonished by it; an entire holiday resort where old people come to conserve whatever life they have left in a place where sunshine was guaranteed and the outside world wouldn't intrude. The Saint Petersburg she sets Sun City in isn't the I'd like to help him but everything's become so difficult to explain, the things I say are neither accepted or dismissed, they're just something an old person said. When Tove Jansson visited the US in the early 70s she saw a Florida retirement community and was astonished by it; an entire holiday resort where old people come to conserve whatever life they have left in a place where sunshine was guaranteed and the outside world wouldn't intrude. The Saint Petersburg she sets Sun City in isn't the real Saint Petersburg, FL, anymore than Moominvalley is the real countryside outside Helsinki; it feels more like a dream, like life suspended while waiting for the inevitable. The old women and men in the retirement home, carefully weighing their words to try and forge some sort of connection to the others (or avoid it, in some cases) without breaking the illusion that everything is perfect, are contrasted by Bounty Joe, one of the few young people around, who missed out on the hippie era and now only hopes for confirmation that Jesus is returning so he won't have to grow up. Jansson's prose is beautiful as always, and the way she sketches characters more by what they don't say or remember than what they do, as if they've spent their lives walking on eggshells and can't bear to break them now. (Two characters are strongly hinted to be gay, as Jansson was and had to keep an open secret for years.) At the same time, while I don't really mind that the plot feels sort of non-existent, there's something about the setting that just feels ... off. I don't know if it's just that Jansson's experience with America is only barely more substantial than Kafka's was, or if it's deliberate to emphasize how artificial this sort of community comes across to an outsider. Sleep is a blessing you can meet in many different ways.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Olesya

    Это была первая книга Тувы Янссон для взрослых которую я прочитала. До этого я прочитала ее биографию и. конечно же, Муми-Троллей. Я была очень удивлена, узнав, что Туве Янссон писала и для взросылх и даже была очень упешной, поэтому и захотела прочесть что-то из ее произведений. И это была первая книга, которую мне удалось достать. Возможно, мне не близка пока еше тема старости, поэтому книга не отозвалась. Так же, возможно, не был знаком период из жизни писательницы, в котором она обратилась к Это была первая книга Тувы Янссон для взрослых которую я прочитала. До этого я прочитала ее биографию и. конечно же, Муми-Троллей. Я была очень удивлена, узнав, что Туве Янссон писала и для взросылх и даже была очень упешной, поэтому и захотела прочесть что-то из ее произведений. И это была первая книга, которую мне удалось достать. Возможно, мне не близка пока еше тема старости, поэтому книга не отозвалась. Так же, возможно, не был знаком период из жизни писательницы, в котором она обратилась к такой теме... Удивило то, что никто из обитателей дома престарелых не думал о смерти и прошедшей жизни, а просто жил дальше и жио той жизнью, день за днем, которой получалось жить на склоне лет, ни жалея о чем-то уходящем и не возвартном и не печалясь о приближающейся и неизбежной смерти... Возможно, в таком настрое виноват был солнечный город, в котором поселила своих героев Туве Янссон.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Such an interesting novel - set not in Jansson's usual haunts but in St. Peterberg, Florida! Focusing on the lives of the residents at a old age home, Jansson, as always, brings her wonderful ability to chronicle the intricacies of human relationships in this poignant yet funny novel. Her second novel for adults, it isn't The Summer Book - my favourite of her adult works - but it is delightfully quirky and a real must for Jansson fans! Such an interesting novel - set not in Jansson's usual haunts but in St. Peterberg, Florida! Focusing on the lives of the residents at a old age home, Jansson, as always, brings her wonderful ability to chronicle the intricacies of human relationships in this poignant yet funny novel. Her second novel for adults, it isn't The Summer Book - my favourite of her adult works - but it is delightfully quirky and a real must for Jansson fans!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Elfving

    A sombre tale of growing old, told from the point of view of the residents in one of the many senior boarding houses in Florida. Tove Jansson published this book when she herself turned 60 so you can see it as her own reflections of aging and slowly fading away in a place removed from the real world's hustle and bustle. Because that's exactly what you get the feeling of when reading about this little Florida town, a waiting room for the soon to be dead. The old people all have great inner confli A sombre tale of growing old, told from the point of view of the residents in one of the many senior boarding houses in Florida. Tove Jansson published this book when she herself turned 60 so you can see it as her own reflections of aging and slowly fading away in a place removed from the real world's hustle and bustle. Because that's exactly what you get the feeling of when reading about this little Florida town, a waiting room for the soon to be dead. The old people all have great inner conflicts and we get to hear all of it, the most striking feeling you get is how fragile their sense of themselves are. You want to imagine yourself being sure of who you are when you've lived with yourself for eighty years, but in this novel that is not a certainty at all. The characters are all interesting with distinct personalities. The arguments they have with each other can turn from hilarious to tragic in a heartbeat, and you get easily invested in everyone's small personal journey. I would've liked the story to focus more on a couple of characters I found to be the more interesting ones'. After a while you get a little disappointed every time the story turns focus on one of the less captivating characters. Sun City is a tragically comic tale of aging told from the point of view of a great aging author. A horror story about retirement, and a reminder that a warm and sunny place can still feel cold.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    En vuxenbok om att åldras. Tove janssons läsare till ha henne kvar i Mumindalen, medan hon själv vill slippa fri, utvecklas, uttrycka något mer. Denna r oman tilldrar sig i en soldränkt, halvsovande pensionärstillflykt i Florida. Tilltalet växer fram, alltmer omisskännligt Tove Jansson. Den lilla pensionärsorten är en lika soldränkt tillflyktsort som Munindalen, lika naggad i kanten av oro, men med en mer beständig svärta. Karaktärerna är ett varierat typgalleri av egensinniga åldringar, på vand En vuxenbok om att åldras. Tove janssons läsare till ha henne kvar i Mumindalen, medan hon själv vill slippa fri, utvecklas, uttrycka något mer. Denna r oman tilldrar sig i en soldränkt, halvsovande pensionärstillflykt i Florida. Tilltalet växer fram, alltmer omisskännligt Tove Jansson. Den lilla pensionärsorten är en lika soldränkt tillflyktsort som Munindalen, lika naggad i kanten av oro, men med en mer beständig svärta. Karaktärerna är ett varierat typgalleri av egensinniga åldringar, på vandring mot solnedgången. Gamla döva Thompson fantiserar om en egen lustgård, ett eget Eden. Som belysande kontrast finns det vackra kärleksparet Joe och Linda, de enda ungdomarna i denna 'mumifierade' stad. Men det är uppbrottets tid, ytan krakelerar. Lindas kärlek är inte nog för Joe. Han söker sig till jesusfolket i jakt på en mening med livet. Läsaren får dock erfara att verkligheten inte är given, utan skiljer sig mellan olika karaktärers intryck, det kan inte bli annat än individuella tolkningar...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Fransson

    Sun city is a constructed paradise in California where old people go to live out the last days of their life, although perhaps it is more of a hell. Because it turns out that old people are still spiteful, still envious, still petty and still scheming. Tove Jansson is, as always, fearless in her writing. I know of no other author who writes like her, who constructs a novel like she does: the plot does not exactly unfold, but is told in anecdotes that sometimes seem to have no destination, but on Sun city is a constructed paradise in California where old people go to live out the last days of their life, although perhaps it is more of a hell. Because it turns out that old people are still spiteful, still envious, still petty and still scheming. Tove Jansson is, as always, fearless in her writing. I know of no other author who writes like her, who constructs a novel like she does: the plot does not exactly unfold, but is told in anecdotes that sometimes seem to have no destination, but once the book is finished you realise that you have read something complete and quietly beautiful.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Masia Maksymowicz

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was not my favorite book of Tove Jansson, however I still enjoyed reading it. It was full of sunshine and I could feel ocean breeze while reading -something that only Tove could do with her book. The end of the book surprised me - it was just the way the book started - like nothing really happened, we don't go to any conclusions, just stay in this Sun City, living along and waiting for another trip, ball or death of a neighbor... This was not my favorite book of Tove Jansson, however I still enjoyed reading it. It was full of sunshine and I could feel ocean breeze while reading -something that only Tove could do with her book. The end of the book surprised me - it was just the way the book started - like nothing really happened, we don't go to any conclusions, just stay in this Sun City, living along and waiting for another trip, ball or death of a neighbor...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elena Varg

    (3,5 stars) Olisin antanut enemmän tähtiä, koska rakastan Toven kirjoitustyyliä, mutta kirjan aihe ei kiinnostanut minua suuresti. Ehkä minun on vielä näin nuorena kaksikymppisenä vaikea lukea vanhoista ihmisistä... Mutta Tove on älyttömän hyvä kirjoittamaan aitoja ja kiinnostavia henkilöhahmoja. Ja kirjan lopussa mainitaan (sivumennen) minun suosikki amerikkalainen cryptid: hoop snake!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Hübinette Jansson

    Den första text av Tove Jansson som jag inte alls tyckte om! Fastnade inte och iddes inte ens läsa färdigt. Skummade sista delen. Jag tyckte att berättelsen var ointressant och känner inte alls igen Tove Janssons sätt att skriva.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mika

    3,5 Stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heta

    Aavistuksen pitkäveteinen ja välillä vaikea ymmärtää, mutta mielenkiintoisia hahmoja, kaunista kieltä ja ajatuksiaherättäviä huomioita.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Natalia Prosh

    ❤❤❤

  21. 4 out of 5

    Plattkatt56

    Rörig och tråkig. Bitvis lite rolig. Saknade Tove Jansson

  22. 5 out of 5

    niina

    I was super interested in reading Tove Jansson's literature other than the Moomin books I so hungrily waded through last year, and I honestly cannot say whether I was surprised or not, and if so, was the surprise a happy one or not. Still, I think this book was not her best work, even though it was interesting, good and heartwarming, a nice story of a incoherent disbanding group of old people that have ended up in one location, where they're encouraged to try and keep on living even though their I was super interested in reading Tove Jansson's literature other than the Moomin books I so hungrily waded through last year, and I honestly cannot say whether I was surprised or not, and if so, was the surprise a happy one or not. Still, I think this book was not her best work, even though it was interesting, good and heartwarming, a nice story of a incoherent disbanding group of old people that have ended up in one location, where they're encouraged to try and keep on living even though their bodies are failing, their bladders are spilling and the people to sleep soundly in the night are not many even though they have their stuff, their rooms and a humid climate. These elderly people live in a slow pace in a slow place and nobody besides themselves is asking or expecting anything from them. Likewise, I read this slow, and felt like it was summer. As a nice counterpart for this band of people Jansson had thrown in the story a couple of young ones, one especially reluctant to stay in place, one expecting, wanting and burning. I must admit I feel like I missed the big picture here, if there was one, and persisted on just reading clear and easily-approachable text about people and life instead.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Jag tycker den är rörig och svår att komma in i, men den är ibland också riktigt Tove Jansson-rolig. Känner mig nästan lite besviken dock, ska inte TJ vara bättre? Men kan också varit jag som läst ofokuserat, för visst blixtrar den till ibland. "Musen offrade sig, anmärkte mrs. Rushkin uppe på verandan. Det är kristligt att sitta därbak... Var det en rolig observation? Nåja, sade Elizabeth Morris. Kanske mera elak." Jag tycker den är rörig och svår att komma in i, men den är ibland också riktigt Tove Jansson-rolig. Känner mig nästan lite besviken dock, ska inte TJ vara bättre? Men kan också varit jag som läst ofokuserat, för visst blixtrar den till ibland. "Musen offrade sig, anmärkte mrs. Rushkin uppe på verandan. Det är kristligt att sitta därbak... Var det en rolig observation? Nåja, sade Elizabeth Morris. Kanske mera elak."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ylva

    A book about growing old. I had no clue about the plot when picking out this book at the library. However, the author Tove Jansson is one of my favourite authors. It surprised me that the story took place in the USA, as the books by Jansson I have read has taken place in Finland or Europe. I found this book rather dull, due to its lack of exitement. Even though the story is short, it felt long-winded. Still I admire Jansson for her simple style in writing, and the genuineness in her characters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jassu

    Aurinkokaupungissa on paljon hienoa, mitä en osaa järkeviksi sanoiksi pukea, mutta sen ihmiskuvaus on tarkkaa, lempeää ja oivaltavaa.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kirsi Nevalainen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elinor Pettersson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lu

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