Jansson, Tove


4 out of 5

(1 book)

Moominvalley In November

A story of the Finn family Moomintroll (simply The Moomins to those of us who grew up watching the cartoon) or, more accurately, a story of their friends and neighbours.  As Autumn sets in and Winter approaches; Snufkin, Fillyjonk, Mymble, Hemulen, Grandpa-Grumble and Toft all make their separate ways to Moominvalley, drawn on by their memories of the open-hearted hospitality of Moominpappa and Moominmamma.  However, they discover that the family Moomintroll is away from home and are forced to find company in each other.

This a beautifully written book and Jansson perfectly captures that feeling of the year winding-down that the transition of Autumn into Winter creates.  There's a sort of a wistful sadness that permeates this book in the way that the damp and chill of November creeps into your life.  But rather than depressing, this book is buoyed-up by some wonderful scenes of warmth and companionship which take even the characters themselves by surprise.

I think that what I liked most about this book is that each of the characters, whilst whimsical caricatures, have very human antisocial tendencies.  Snufkin is a loner and a wanderer, Fillyjonk is a bit OCD, Mymble is too blunt with her honesty, Hemulen feels awkward and inadequate, Grandpa-Grumble is curmudgeonly and Toft is timid.  Just about any reader will see themselves reflected in one or other of these characters, which serves to draw your heart wholesale into the brief and wonderful moments of joy scatttered throughout the story.

Read as either fable or allegory, this is a perfectly delightful book.

4 out of 5


Fantasy (here)