« Borderless: Dagoberto Gilb’s The Flowers | Main | Pet Peeve: »

December 06, 2010

Comments

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.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Isak

  • Isak is a space to celebrate tales and truth in the curious, joyful way embodied by the writer for which it is named. The name "Isak," after all, means "laughter," as she was fond of pointing out.

    By tales, I mean fiction (especially short fiction), as well as other literary and artistic narratives. By truth, I mean the world in which we live. I especially have my eye on creative social justice.

    Isak: The Extended Version
join the mailing list
* indicates required

Choose Books

My Photo

Support Isak

  • For more than eight years, I've edited Isak, supporting it with my time and treasure. This site has always been ad-free. If you find this website valuable, and are moved to contribute a donation, I will be deeply grateful.