A virtual memoir in letters by the beloved creator of the MoominsTove Jansson’s works, even her famed Moomin books, fairly teem with letters of one kind or another, from messages bobbing in bottles to whole epistolary novels. Fortunately for her countless readers, her life was no different, unfolding as it did in the letters to family, friends, and lovers that make up this volume, a veritable autobiography over the course of six decades–and the only one Jansson ever wrote. And just as letters carry a weight of significance in Jansson’s writing, those she wrote throughout her life reflect the gravity of her circumstances, the depth of her thoughts and feelings, and the critical moments of humor, sadness, and grace that mark an artist’s days.
These letters, penned with characteristic insight and wit, provide an almost seamless commentary on Jansson’s life within Helsinki’s bohemian circles and on her island home. Shifting between hope and despair, yearning and happiness, they describe her immersion in art studies and her ascension to fame with the Moomins. They speak frankly of friendship and love, loneliness and solidarity, and also of politics, art, literature, and society. They summon a particular place and time reflected through a mind finely attuned to her culture, her world, and her own nature–all clearly put into biographical and historical context by the volume’s editors, both longtime friends of Tove Jansson–and, in the end, draw a complex, intimate self-portrait of one of the world’s most beloved authors.