13 March 2013

Sculptor's Daughter, by Tove Jansson

I have made a project of gradually reading all of Tove Jansson's novels for adults, although I've apparently only blogged about one of them.*  A lot of these stories (a full 2/3 of them) are in Winter's Tales. But I think this collection of works is somewhat more coherent than that one. There's more of a unified perspective. The book is meant to be a memoir of sorts, but I don't think that's the way to approach it - it's really more of a collection of stories, or even fragments.

They are interesting stories, in that they are very much from a (precocious) child's point of view - which makes them both marvelous and somewhat incoherent. A paratactic structure without much in the way of causation or logical connection (this happened and then this and then this), and sometimes, words that get used just because the narrator likes them, not because of their meaning; like a child imitating adult speech. "Explosion is a beautiful word and a very big one. Later I learned others, the kind you can whisper only when you're alone. Inexorable. Ornamentation. Profile. Catastrophic. Electrical. District Nurse." (21) It's a strange world that she evokes, but a wonderful one. You definitely can see how that same mind created the Moomin universe

*If you are curious, my favorites are Fair Play, and Summer Book.  I think Summer Book is probably the better entry point into her novels, but Fair Play is just amazing.

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