Sunday, May 3, 2015

30 Day Blog Challenge Day 3: A Book I Love

While I've often expressed the opinion that Paradise Lost is the best book ever written, it's not my favourite. No, my favourite series of books remains the Moomins by Tove Jansson. Of those, Moominland Midwinter is my absolute all-time favourite.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Moomins (shame on you), they are a family of Finnish trolls that live, for the most part, in harmony with their surroundings and neighbors. They are very friendly, and their house is always open to friends and travelers alike. However, they are summer creatures and they hibernate in the winter. Moominland Midwinter is a novel about how the gentle, giving, generous lands of Moominvalley are utterly transformed during winter into a hostile and sometimes brutal environment. Moomintroll awakens in the middle of one such winter, and struggles against loneliness and the elements until spring's arrival. To me, Moominland Midwinter is a paradigm of Finnishness. It depicts the constant winter-time struggle against the elements and it demonstrates the concept of sisu that is, and always has been, at the heart and soul of Finnish culture.

I'd like to finish this post with a (rather long) quote from Moominland Midwinter.

"Moomintroll felt greatly excited all evening. He padded from one room to the next and lit more candles than usual. Now and again he stood still, listening to the even breathing of the sleepers and to the light snapping in the walls as the cold sharpened.

He felt certain that all of the mysterious people would come out of their holes and dens tonight, and all the light-shy and unreal that Too-ticky had talked about. They’d come padding up to the great bonfire that all the small beasts had lighted to make the dark and the cold go away. And now he could see them.

Moomintroll lit the oil lamp and went up to the attic.

He opened the hatch. The moon had not yet risen, but the valley was bleakly lighted by the aurora borealis. Down by the bridge a line of torches was moving along, surrounded by leaping shadows. They were on their way to the seashore and the hilltop...” 

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