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September 26th, 2008

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12:08 pm - Moomintroll and the End of the World (Jansson, Tove)
The world is ending! Follow the frightfully exciting adventures of Moomintroll, the Muddler, Snufkin and the Snork Maiden, not to mention Thingumy and Bob. Read about the comet that collided with the earth, and about the great flood… Not suitable for very small children!
Moomintroll and the End of the World formed Tove Jansson’s first Moomin comic strip. She drew it in 1947 and 1948 as a present to her friend Atos Wirtanen and his newspaper Ny Tid.
This book includes the original comic strip and a series of articles that illuminate Jansson’s life and work, including an interview with Jansson herself about the creation of Moomintroll and the End of the World. This is the first time any of the material in this Moomin treasure trove has been published in English.”

One might wonder why I, a person who studies Swedish (oh, well, Scandinavian languages) as her main subject, read the book in English instead of Swedish or Finnish. The answer is quite simple. The Finnish (and Swedish) version of the book costs more than 30 Euros, while the English (and Swedish) version costs merely half of that. After all, I am a poor student – and the comic strip had its original, Swedish texts, which were translated into English below. That means that, practically, I read the Moomin part in Swedish, and the essays and interviews in English, right?

Now that I have defended myself, I am free to go right down into the business. But before I do that, I have a(nother) confession to make. I have never, ever reviewed a graphic novel, so that means that you are not allowed to kill me, no matter how horrible this review is going to be.

I think most of us are already aware of the fact that Jansson’s Moomin characters are a bit different from the characters of the Japanese TV show. Personally, I prefer Jansson’s edgy and not-quite-so innocent characters. Do not get me wrong, of course there is a childish, naïve kind of innocence in the characters – but it is not taken so far. The characters drink cognac instead of homemade apple wine, Moominpappa has his tobacco plants, et cetera.

The story itself is an interesting variation of the theme that later turned into Comet in Moominland. Kristina Rotkirch has written about this in her article “Catastrophe and Survival in the World of Moomin” (published in Moomintroll and the End of the World), so I am not going to say more about it, but I still think it is worth mentioning.

The comic is captivating, exciting and utterly adorable. The (quasi-)academic essays (and interviews) offer interesting points of view, and deepen the reading experience further. All in all, this book would have been worth 30 Euros or more – even in a language as silly as English.


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Moomintroll and the End of the World (Jansson, Tove) - Tii lukee.

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