Sort Of Books 7.99 (224pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The True Deceiver, By Tove Jansson
Friday 06 November 2009
Finnish writer and artist, Tove Jansson, is best known in this country as the creator of the Moomin stories, but her novels for adults are no less distinctive. Since her death in 2001, the author's work has become more widely available in English translation.
The True Deceiver, her third novel for adults, translated by Thomas Teal, proves a delightfully dark winter's tale. Set in an isolated Nordic hamlet, the novel tracks an intense relationship between two strong-minded women. Katri Kling is a blunt young woman who lives with her "simple" brother Mats, and has no time for social niceties. Living away from the village is Anna Aemelin, an elderly children's book illustrator whose great talent is to reproduce the flora and fauna of the forest floor.
Early in the novel, Katri decides that Anna's big house in the woods should be hers. After staging a fake break-in, she persuades Anna to take her on as a housekeeper. Soon Katri and Mats are running every aspect of the illustrator's life from weather-proofing her windows to managing her business accounts.
Although Jansson's book isn't a thriller, there's a tension to the prose which suggests that blood might be spilt. As the winter takes its toll, the two women find themselves locked in a prolonged psychological battle: Katri's cynicism tempered by Anna's more sentimental mind-set. But who's taking advantage of whom, and which woman has a better grasp of reality is up for debate. Parallels between the author's own artistic struggles and those of Anna's lend this novel exta allure.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits after falling ill
Great British Bake Off 2014: Ofcom receives 13 complaints about Baked Alaska episode
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >