Tove Jansson, queen of the Moomins

Tove Jansson with Moomins, 1956

Love-hate relationship: Tove Jansson pictured in 1956 with the creations which she could never quite escape

The international children’s laureate of disaster and displacement, Tove Jansson, was born one hundred years ago, on August 9, 1914, just as Europe was going to war. She is most famous for creating the Moomins, a family of hospitable and adventuresome trolls who vaguely resemble tubby two-legged hippos. Today, there is a thriving Moomin-industry around them: a theme park, a museum, a movie is on its way.

The Moomins emerged fully in a story written in 1939 during the attempted Soviet invasion of her Finnish homeland, Moomin and the Great Flood. At the end of that book, the reunited Moomin family find a house “like a tall stove” in a beautiful valley where “they spent the whole of their lives, apart from a few times when they left it and travelled for a change.”

The last phrase turned out to be misleading. Jansson still had catastrophes to get out of her system. Continue reading at the Daily Beast…

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