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December 06, 2010


Someone recommended the Moomin books to me a while back when I was looking for translated YA/children's books. It's been so long that I've forgotten who suggested them. The point is that your enthusiasm is so contagious that I've requested The Summer Book from the library!

Nice recommendation! And I'm going to check out Harper's too. I like your blog. It's informative and relevant. Good luck and more power.

The Moomin books are as adult as anything, especially the later ones. One fine way in is a recent article in the Guardian, at http://www.guardianbookshop.co.uk/BerteShopWeb/viewProduct.do?ISBN=9780954899592. It sent me to "Moominvalley in November," one that I'd missed, and this is from my Amazon review, slightly revised:

Written after the death of Jansson's beloved mother, the model for the unflappable Moominmamma, this is dark, subtle, and moving in a way that few other so-called children's books are. There's no point repeating what the other reviewers have said. I'd just add that there's something in the book that echoes the last section of "To the Lighthouse," which is so much about the absence of Mrs. Ramsay and her unforced rightness of being. (Is it a coincidence that the previous Moomin book, "Moominpappa at Sea," ends with a lighthouse?) Jansson can bear the comparison with Woolf, and what is so touching in this coda to the Moomin series is how all of the characters have their moment of vision, like Lily Briscoe, and how liberating that is for each of them. One of the profundities of the book is that each figure's confrontation with absence and longing does not so much change them as it releases them into the fulness of their own lives. "Moominvalley in November" ends with Little Toft, whose liberation runs deepest--he lets go of the very ideal of the Happy Family--and his story brings this often-sad book to a close with quiet confidence and joy. Moominmamma's rightness is not found here, but Jansson's rightness is; this is a great short novel from a great artist at the height of her powers.

Thanks for sharing this, Michael ... great link. I'm looking forward to exploring.

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