Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Moomin and Family Life by Tove Jansson (Drawn and Quarterly)
The poor lad has lost his fortune, his girlfriend and pretty much everything he owns - so as he takes the rather rash decision to drown himself (not as easy as it sounds when you're a Moomin and an expert swimmer), thus opens a slice of Tove Jansson's glorious comic world in "Moomin and Family Life"
Tove Jansson's genius is in taking a relatively simple story premise, adding a huge dose of the "Bazooka of Surreality" to it and coming up with a tale that you'd swear was stolen, spun, folded and mutilated into just about every modern sitcom based on families you've ever seen.
Moomin is (thankfully) rescued by his long lost Ma and Pa. Moominpapa and Moominmama grab the depressed youth and take him back home, to show him a slice of what family life really means. Slowly but surely home life becomes boring, prompting the family to embark on a crazy adventure that might make drowning yourself look like a walk in the park.
By now you're probably wondering if this is really suitable reading material for your little ones (really I don't know what to tell you, these are the original moomin stories and you could probably go and grab one of the more child-friendly 'modern' titles if your little ones are really little). But Charlotte seized on this one and was quite frequently heard cackling loudly (and wickedly) at Moomin's adventures. It did take a bit of explaining in places (probably no worse than the sort of awkward questions we adults get from our children after they've watched an episode of "The Simpsons" that's sailed right over their heads) but this is deliriously great stuff, again with that darkly wicked subversiveness that Tove Jansson should really be remembered for.
"Moomin and Family Life" is out now, published by Drawn and Quarterly (Kindly supplied for review).