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Monday, March 17, 2014


Moomin comic book cover by Tove Jansson

Are you a Tove Jansson fan? Perhaps you have fond childhood memories of her Moomin books or maybe you know her memoirs and fiction? I must admit to being a latecomer to Jansson's work and then only through her remarkable Moomin books. While I vaguely remember them from childhood it was not until I started reading them to my children last year that I fell under her spell. How could I not when she wrote passages such as this:

Now the dictionary was curling up more and more. The pages began to look like withered leaves, and between them the Outlandish Words came out and began crawling around on the floor.
'Goodness gracious me,' said Moomintroll.
Finn Family Moomintroll (1948)
Goodness gracious indeed! Crawling words aside, there is something very comforting about the philosophical, nature-loving world in Moominvalley where seasons are embraced for their difference and for the way they mark the passing of time:

The quiet transition from autumn to winter is not a bad time at all. It's a time for protecting and securing things and for making sure you've got in as many supplies as you can. It's nice to gather together everything you possess as close to you as possible, to store up your warmth and your thoughts and burrow yourself into a deep hole inside, a core of safety where you can defend what is important and precious and your very own. Then the cold and the storms and the darkness can do their worst.

Moominvalley In November (1971)

This year would have been Tove's 100th birthday so celebrations are in full swing around the globe to honour her work not only as a writer but as a artist. If I was anywhere near Finland I'd be hot-footing it to this remarkable retrospective exhibition at the Finnish National Gallery in Helsinki (thanks for the tip Tuula) which includes her surrealist and modernist paintings from the 1930 -1950s, her graphic work during the 1940s and her later paintings which move towards abstraction. If you can't make it there the website is certainly worth a look and if you'd like more information on Tove Jansson related events nearer to you you may find some on the Tove100 website.


  1. 'The Summer Book' by Tove Jansson is one of my favourite recent reads. Hannah has a bit of a Moomin obsession too with a cute enamel Moomin flask...although she does tell me that I look like one of the characters when I'm bespectacled and pull my hair up in a bun! I watched a fascinating BBC4 documentary about her and her partner's life last year...amazing. We plan to go to Denmark later in the year...depending on how house moving and everything else goes so might go a bit further East and catch the exhibition too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I think it really sounds like a detour if you can swing it. It looks like a fairly big and comprehensive exhibition. Lovely to hear from you as always and I must get my hand on The Summer Book. Hope all is well in your world.