I have two memories of the Moomins (television show, I’ve not read a Moomin book before). One is more of a feeling of loving them. The other is being terrified of them and the hat that turned Moomin into a monster. I’m not sure which came first, but I love them now.
I love them for the same reason I love Anne of Green Gabels, Heidi or tales I read as a child set in remote and beautiful mountainous locations. I’m a city girl at heart as I don’t cope well detached from the rest of society for long spells of time, but if I could go to live in Moomin Valley I would. Perhaps I’ll retire to Finland.
Wikipedia has informed me Moominvalley in November is more psychologically searching that Tove Jansson‘s earlier, innocent books. This final Moomin book doesn’t feature any of the Moomins, it instead focuses on characters waiting for them to return for Winter.
‘There familiar characters converge – Snufkin, the Hemulen, Fillyjonk, and others – seeking out the Moomins’ welcoming company, only to find them absent. All remain at the house, all have very different personalities that clash often, but something about their homey cohabitation during the icy winter changes each visitor in a gratifying way. As The Times Literary Supplement put it, Moominvalley in November is “possibly the cleverest of the Moomin books.”‘ GoodReads.
Each character wants to get back to Moominvalley which is a home away from home. Where they feel protected and cared for by the Moomins – yet the physicality of them is hazy in their minds. The Moomins are away for the Autumn, at some distant place, so are unable to welcome their five guests Snufkin, Toft, The Hemulen, Fillyjonk and Grampa-Grumble.
The flail around a fair bit, apart from Snufkin, as they make themselves at home. Eventually, all leave to go home apart from Toft, who stays to welcome the Moomins home.
It was strange reading this book, and perhaps it was not the best one to begin with – I only recognised Snufkin and Hemulen. I suppose all I can really say is that at first I thought they had all either gone there to die or find the Moomins dead, but really is was just a holiday for them all, no one died, and it gave something valuable to each.
I want to visit Finland now, visit some Nordic mountains and valleys.
Meet the Moomins. Obviously.