Moominmamma: "I believe she wants to be invisible for a while"
July 9, 2018 1:49 PM   Subscribe

The Invisible Child by Tove Jansson, a Moomin short story translated by Thomas Warburton, as read by Bill Nighy.
posted by Kattullus (18 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I grew up on the Moomintrolls et al. Must have read those scrawny little Puffin paperbacks 10 times each.

My daughter can't get past page 3 though. Perhaps I should get a DNA test or something.....
posted by Rumple at 2:08 PM on July 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

I also grew up on the Moomin stories, and remember them fondly as being extremely soothing stories of picnics and gentle adventures, and then whenever I actually reread any of the books I realize how wildly existentially dark a lot of them are. Is that just what kids' books are like in Scandinavia?

(I was also extremely stoked to learn as a gay adult that Tove Jansson's main relationship in her life was with a woman).
posted by ITheCosmos at 2:38 PM on July 9, 2018 [5 favorites]

The Moomin character Too-Ticky, who's in the short story, is based on Jansson's partner, Tuulikki Pietilä.
posted by Kattullus at 2:41 PM on July 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Though I obviously know this story, I will look forward to listening to Bill Nighy's reading ;-)
posted by mumimor at 2:48 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

A very good BBC documentary on Tove Jansson [SLYT]. Talks about her family, the Moomins, her relationship with Tuulikki, the remote island where the two of them lived alone for much of their later lives.
posted by humuhumu at 3:05 PM on July 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Lovely. I grew up on the Moomin books as well, and I look forward to hearing Bill Nighy reading. Thanks, Katullus!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:30 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh my goodness - THANK YOU! I really like the Moomin books, but I LOVE Bill Nighy, especially his voice!

Thank you!
posted by kristi at 5:17 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I loved the Moomin books as a kid, but they were dark. I must have read "Comet In Moominland" 50 times and it's about a comet that they believe will collide with Earth and destroy everything. In another book Moomintroll wakes up in the middle of winter and has to deal with a cold and (mostly) empty world.

Definitely weird, and I would imagine that they appealed to weird kids.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:18 PM on July 9, 2018 [5 favorites]

I was definitely a weird kid, loved the Moomin books and insisted that my little brother loved them too. His kids showed no interest in them when they were little, but he and I still occasionally exchange Moomin-related gifts. A couple of years ago I made him a set of hattifatteners in luminous yarn.
posted by Fuchsoid at 6:07 PM on July 9, 2018 [6 favorites]

Thank you, Kattullus.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:55 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Definitely weird, and I would imagine that they appealed to weird kids

Yup, I was a weird kid all right. And I loved the story where Moomintroll woke up in the middle of winter!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:12 PM on July 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Loved them. Was a weird kid, too.
Remember the flood, stranded on top of a house.
And the little clouds they played on.
And the strange creatures.
posted by signal at 8:01 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

"The lonely and the rum"
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:13 PM on July 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Being treated with respect and having a powerful voice is a right that Oxfam wants all women and girls to have, which is why the full £4.99 from each sale of a new standalone edition of The Invisible Child is being donated to the charity’s women’s projects worldwide

Not meaning to be nit-picky, but 'having a powerful voice' seems to me a very long way away from the world of the Moomin books (unless you're a Hemulen, of course). Reading the books as a child, one of the messages I took away from them was that it's okay to be quiet and solitary if that's what makes you happy. Joe Moran puts it beautifully in Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness:

Jansson's lesson is not that shy people should come out of their shells; it is that they should learn to become unneurotic introverts. For Moomins may sulk and skulk fleetingly, but most of the time they are neither needy nor neurotic. Their response to a problem is to think deeply and then make something -- a hut, a painting, a poem, a boat carved out of bark -- as a way of whittling meaning out of a terrifying world.
posted by verstegan at 1:00 AM on July 10, 2018 [10 favorites]

I recall being not much taken with the one Moomin book I read as a child (the one about the comet), but I read Jansson's The Summer Book last week and loved it. And I thoroughly enjoyed hearing this story now too - so perhaps I am finally enough of a weird kid to enjoy the other Moomin tales as well.
posted by misteraitch at 3:40 AM on July 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

It's never too late to have a weird childhood, misteraitch.
posted by Rumple at 2:59 PM on July 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Moomin is new to me. I came for Bill Nighy. Was not disappointed.

Thanks for the post.
posted by she's not there at 10:27 PM on August 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you liked the story, the Moomin books are worth reading.
posted by Kattullus at 7:01 AM on August 9, 2018

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