This may be my last entry…
Following on from my previous post about turning Scandiwegian, I forgot something incredibly Scandinavian that has happened to me that underlines everything I said in that post. I have a weirdly consuming desire to read Tove Jansson’s entire Moomin back catalogue. It’s such a weird desire for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the books are for children but are scattered with deeply philosophical references. Secondly, they are freaky.
The Moomin family are a group of Trolls who go on adventures with other Finnish legend inspired characters in and around the fictional Moominvalley. Their friends include Snufkin, a harmonica playing roaming philosopher; Little My, a mischievous girl that lives with the family; Sniff, a small rodent-like creature who love adventure but is very timid until called upon to be brave. They are supported by a cast of weird and wonderful creatures like The Hattifatteners; a group of silent fungal creature that are constantly attempting to reach the horizon and The Groke; a melancholic forlorn apparition who is drawn to fire for warmth but extinguishes it on contact.
The stories can be by turn hilarious, charming, dark and heartbreaking and are enough to entertain and/or bore any child. I get the feeling as I get older that there is a lot to learn from these books – if not about life in general then about Tove Jansson herself and the philosophical and libertarian culture she was part of.
Over the years there have been a number of adaptations of the books and stories but the one I remember the most is the stop motion felt animation from the late 70’s and early 80’s which was shown a couple of times in Britain when I was little. There was apparently quite a lot of Tove Jansson input on the series and it is much more in keeping with the feeling of he books. I remember it being quite scary and may have been partly responsible for me never actually reading them. My brother was a big fan but he was 5 years older than me and a much more voracious reader. Perhaps one day, when I can find cheap copies of the books I’ll get around to reading them myself.
In the meantime, I will have to content myself with the OperationMoomin videos uploaded to Youtube which are a little more fluffy than ‘my’ series but entertaining nevertheless.
‘Thanks for reading, now run along and play’ said Moominmama.