Book #40: Comet in Moominland (1946)

Comet in Moominlandaka: Kometjakten
author: Tove Jansson
language: English translated from Swedish
length: 173 pages
finished on: 23 August 2013

This was another book I’d been meaning to read for a while: apparently the second in the Moomin series, although I thought it was the first, because it introduces a lot of the main characters for the first time. I think this was the first time I’ve read it, although I’m pretty sure I read one or two of the others when I was a kid. It was interesting to get a look at one of the early stories, in the same way that it was interesting to see Moomin in comic form.

The story felt a bit piecemeal, though, like a kind of series of unconnected events. Many of the things that happened felt a bit non sequitur, and it felt like a series of short stories that had been loosely strung into one whole.

The characters were also introduced incredibly clumsily. For instance, Snufkin’s introduction basically was “Moomintroll and Sniff met Snufkin. He travelled with them” – or might as well have been. I think this is an artifact of the characters being named after their species, perhaps, so that he was actually introduced as “a Snufkin”, but it comes across as them meeting a previously unknown creature and them instantly knowing each others’ personalities. Snork Maiden follows a similar pattern, although this time Moomintroll hears about the Snork Maiden early on in the story but has already decided that she would be his girlfriend by the time he meets her. This is further confused by an introduction page at the beginning with an illustration of each character and a description (Snufkin is “Moomintroll’s best friend” and Snork Maiden is his “girlfriend” on this page) – it became clear to me later on that this description was taken from a later book once all the characters had been introduced.

It’s fun to read overall, however, but it’s over pretty quickly, which is a shame. I’d like to continue reading but I don’t know if I can justify buying all the books to myself (I’ll have to check how much they cost on kindle I guess). I like Moomin.

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