The father and the sea

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Moominpappa at sea by Tove Jansson is the second to last Moomin novel and takes place at the same time as Moominvalley in November.

It starts as the Moominpappa is going through a bit of a life-crisis. Things are getting a bit too comfortable and he starts to suspect that his family doesn’t really need him anymore. The solution is obviously for the family to leave their comfortable home and move to an isolated lighthouse where the father can prove his pioneer spirit (I want to blame Moominpappa for this but while it may have been his dream it was actually Moominmamma who decided it).

The result is a melancholy story about a family growing apart from each other, carried by Jansson’s amazing ability to write characters and scenes that feel absolutely true, although centred around a family of Moomintrolls.

While all Moomin novels have a touch of melancholy it is more dominant in the two last ones. In some ways I feel that the earlier Moomin novels are children’s novels that can be read by adults, while these last two are adult’s novels that can be read by children.

Moominpappa at Sea is part of my classics club reading challenge. As it was first published in 1965 I also want to use it for the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge. However, I’m not sure whether to use it as my Classic Comic Novel or my Classic Tragic Novel, as common in Nordic literature it includes quite a bit of both.

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5 thoughts on “The father and the sea

    1. I wonder if a child might be more focused on the adventures of Moomin and Little My, and miss some of the undercurrents? After all, many of the best children’s books have rather dark undercurrents. Unfortunately I never read this one as a child so I don’t know either.

      Liked by 1 person

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