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Julian Meynell's Books

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Jansson's Moominland Midwinter

Moominland Midwinter - Thomas Warburton, Tove Jansson

I ran across this book and I supposed that the Gods were telling me to read it again.  It is generally considered one of the best Moomin books, although I would only rank it myself somewhere in the middle.  However, as I think Tove Jansson is a genius that means that the book is still an excellent book.

This time around the beauty of the writing struck me in a way that it had not before.  However, the structure of the book is quite strange.  It is divided into 6 chapters where Moomin wakes up and at first alienated by the lonely snowy landscape he at last comes to accept it.  However, there is chapter 5, which is quite long, where the book takes a detour and its tone changes.  This chapter reads almost as an extended short story and veers off into the lives of Sorry-oo a dog, a hemulen of the sporting type and a little creep, all of whom appear for the first time in the chapter, dominate it and then disappear.

The narrative arc without that chapter is fairly straight forward.  The book is very much a Moomin book and is if anything even more elusive in its meanings than normal.  Tove Jansson's work is always a perfect fusion of art and writing.  Beautiful and often still like the winter landscapes it portrays.