I thought that the spring was already here. The wind was warm, the sun shone and the snow only held on the higher mountains and in the most shaded spots. I should have known better, two days of heavy snowfall later and the landscape is white again (the photo was taken this morning). To get back into proper winter mood I decided to reread Moominland Midwinter (Trollvinter), my favourite winter book and one of the best Moomin books.
Moomin trolls are of course summer creatures who normally hibernate through the winters, but one year Moomin accidentally wakes up early from his winter sleep and thus becomes the first moomin troll to experience a winter. In moominland Midwinter we get to follow his explorations of the strange, cold, dark, lonely world he has awaken to. It is a bit of a bildunsgroman, with Moomin learning to adapt to and eventually enjoy his new environment, and a beautiful portrait of one of my favourite seasons. Perhaps the Nordic countries should just hand it to every immigrant from a warmer country to let them know what to expect?
As it is a Moomin book it is also filled with Tove Jansson‘s amazing characters. I know that it was first published in 1957 but I am sure that I have met most of them and some obvious relatives of Hemulen come by our summer cabin every year.
Paula at Book Jotter has written a more extensive review of Moominland Midwinter and is collecting reviews on Tove Jansson’s works in her Tove trove, go and take a look if you haven’t already.
I read The Little House in the Big Forest as a child and, although I have forgotten much of it, one scene in particular has stayed with me. I am of course thinking of the time they made candy out of maple syrup. As a child the thought of making candy in the snow was endlessly fascinating to me and I lamented the lack of sugar maples in Sweden.
However, it is said that it is never to late to have a happy childhood and I finally realized that I didn’t need a sugar maple, just ordinary maple syrup and the fresh new-fallen snow outside. Tonight I have finally fulfilled that particular childhood dream and although I may have eaten a bit too much I have no regrets. Thank you Laura Ingalls Wilder!
In October I finished another novel from my Classics club reading list, Moominvalley in November by Tove Jansson. All I had left to do was to write a review, ideally post it during November considering its theme, and go on to other novels. Unfortunately I got stuck, November is already gone, and I still haven’t written that review.
It was not really writing the review that was the problem, I just had too much other things going on, but by now I think that the wisest course of action is to write something, anything, and move on.
So what can I say about it? Well, it was good, melancholy and beautiful, like Jansson almost always is. It is the last books about the Moomins and the Moomin family is not at home. Instead we meet some of the supporting cast from the other books, people who have all come to depend on the Moomin family’s presence and struggle to fill the void on their own.
All the Moomin books can be enjoyed by both adults and children but this one may be especially relevant for adults. I really liked it and do recommend it, but only if you have read most of the other Moomin books first, as it also act as a farewell to Moomin valley.