Artist Ingela Hallberg has been reimagining Tove Jansson’s beloved children’s books, with a series of artworks called The Moomin Project. And the results are pretty striking.
A century after the real Moominmamma’s birth, Tuula Karjalainen explores the beginnings of the Moomin saga…
Why did Tove Jansson, a gifted and dedicated artist who was born in Helsinki in 1914, start writing the Moomin books, a series that went on to sell in their millions, and be translated into 44 languages? Not for financial reasons, for she certainly did not envisage making much money from them. At least to begin with, she wrote them for herself. Through them she escaped from the war and the harshness of the world, at a time when many Finns were numbing their senses with drugs and alcohol. Writing about Moominvalley offered Tove an alternative escape from a life that was too cruel.
Boel Westin, professor of literature at the University of Stockholm, has written an affectionate biography. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the Moomin world and knew Jansson. In the book, Westin compares her to Shakespeare, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, even "Chekov spiced with Poe". Actually, Jansson needs no such comparisons: that she wrote well is self-evident from the enduring popularity of her surreal and prankish tales.