Sculptor’s Daughter. Tove Jansson

Book Review :

I bought this book in 1978 and reread it after I finished my bio of Tove.  Her father was a sculptor, Viktor Janssen, and her mother, “Ham”, an artist.  It is a quick read-about 2 hours-and consists of short vignettes written from a child’s point of view.  

These pieces are full of the child’s imagination, fantasy, and sharply lit perceptions of the circumstances around her.  Her Father’s parties, her Mother’s humorous forbearance, an iceberg, winter snow, salvaging items washed in by the sea, the death of a wounded seagull.  

Here are crazy Fanny with her Great Rain Song, the cryptic rites of Christmas, and the snowed in house that invites hibernation.  They are the seeds of the Moomins and their stories.  

Tove IS Moomintroll, but you also see the monsters that lurk in the child’s imagination, whence the Groke emerges.   

The sketch is of Moomintroll. It was drawn on a piece of card by my brother soon after I bought the book, in which it lives.

S. Narayanswami 2021