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 argued, worked, and laughed together for decades. Yet they’ve never really stopped taking each other by surprise. Fair Play shows us Mari and Jona’s intertwined lives as they watch Fassbinder films and Westerns, critique each other’s work, spend time on a solitary island (recognizable to readers of Jansson’s The Summer Book), travel through the American Southwest, and turn life into nothing less than art.
“This novel is about creativity from the very start—about how to take a day . . . and make it really new and fresh, no matter what age you are, what life you’re in.” —Ali Smith, From the Introduction
“Jansson reveals the ambiguities in every encounter. There are no easy moral judgments. Only the very ﬁnest art can show us so many shades of psychological nuance, yet make them visible with such clarity.” —Damion Searls, Harper’s
“Jansson is . . . content to let the narrative almost disappear into what Hegel called the ‘prose of the world’: the beauty of the day-to-day. It is here . . . that we find the true meaning of the novel.” —Andreas Campomar, The Times Literary Supplement
“A book about love—tender, eccentric and fiercely independent. It feels a privilege to read it.” —Esther Freud