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,, are really superb little chunks of Moominland, not at all whimsical, but dark and thoughtful pieces that speak to adults trying to make sense of an imperfect world The funniest perhaps is the last one, The Fir Tree Granen , in which the Moomins, who normally hibernate, are woken up for Christmas and try to make sense of it But my favourite is The Secret of the Hattifatteners Hatifnattarnas hemlighet , in which Moominpappa abandons home and family to try and find some extra meaning in life, and ends up in a confrontation with dark and incomprehensible forces I must have first read it when I was seven or eight, and it hit me then quite differently to how it hits me now But they are all good. One of the most rewarding pieces of juvenile fiction I ve read in a while, possessing a surprising maturity that is distinctly nordic in tone combines poetry, understated whimsy, and dry wit with a note of gentle melancholy running through it all. What a bunch of strange, opaque, elliptical little stories This is my first entry into the Moomin world, Jansson s books having passed me by as a child I was dubious the pastelly coloured covers of the editions I keep weighing in my hands then returning to the shelves in Unity have put me off but this was lent to me by a close friend whose taste I trust I flipped the book over and read the blurb first If you found a tiny golden dragon with green paws, would you know what to do it it Well, Moomintroll thinks he knows what to do But when he takes his new found pet home, things don t work out as planned At the sight of that exclamation mark my heart sank Japes ahoy, I thought cute little animals getting up to whimsical things.I couldn t have been wrong It might be because I was dropped into the Moomin world without any preparation, but the only thing I would childlike and traditionally delightful in this book were the names of the various creatures the Moomins themselves, the Mymble, the whompers and creeps and fillyjonks, all words to savour across the lips.Apart from that, I found the stories dark and puzzling and quite moving In The Spring Tune Snufkin is interrupted in his solitary wanderings he is trying to let a song come to him, a new tune, one part expectation, two parts spring sadness, and for the rest, just the delight of walking alone and liking it by a little creep some kind of forest creature whose chatter drags him back towards his obligations, and who then asks him for a great favour a name of his own Snufkin, eventually, reluctantly, diffidently, offers Teety woo a light beginning, sort of, and a little sadness to round it off And thenThe little creep stared at him with yellow eyes in the firelight It thought its name over, tasted it, listened to it, crawled inside it, and finally turned its snout up to the sky and softly howled its new name, so sadly and ecstatically than Snufkin felt a shiver along his back The Fillyjonk who believed in Disasters is a small, fantastical, psychological study of a woman who is living a life that doesn t fit her properly, and chafing against it, breaking free in the only way she can her imagination Those storms of her own were the worst ones And deep down in her heart the fillyjonk was just a little proud of her disasters that belonged to no one else.Gaffsie is a jackass, she thought A silly woman with cakes and pillow slips all over her mind And she doesn t know a thing about flowers And least of all about me Now she s sitting at home thinking that I haven t ever experienced anything I, who see the end of the world every day, and still I m putting on my clothes, and taking them off again, and eating and washing up the dishes and receiving visits, just as if nothing ever happened Some of the stories are relatively straightforward little Ninny, the girl who has become invisible out of neglect, and becomes visible again once enfolded in the Moomin family the gentle satire of the Moomin s first Christmas.But it s The Secret of the Hattifatteners that really sticks in my mind Despite the ludicrous title, it strikes me as having strange similarities toMalory s Holy Grail a journey undertaken not from choice but from some force of fate, of unhappy and bemusing travels, of fear and discovery up until the last couple of pages, which gentle back down, without the tragedy of Malory.It s the opening of the story that really struck me Once upon a time, rather long ago, it so happened that Moominpappa went away from the house without the least explanation and without even himself understanding why he had to go.Moominmamma said afterwards that he had seemed odd for quite a time, but probably he hadn t been odder than usual That was just one of those things that one thinks up afterwards when one s bewildered and sad and wants the comfort of an explanation.That s not an opening that belongs in a whimsical children s book That s the beginning to a hundred thousand children s stories about why someone who shouldn t have left did I m not sure now if I want to back read of Jansson s books, or if I want to move straight on to her adult books and savour the weirdness of this little collection a little longer. Somewhere under his hat the tune began to move, one part expectation, and two parts spring sadness, and for the rest just a colossal delight at being alone The Spring Tune I took one of those which Moominvalley character are you personality quizzes It would be great to be one of them and live amongst all of the others Well, except for the Witch not in these stories She recalls a certain type of much older woman I m afraid I ll age into if I am around them too much The kind that seem to have no life except for being obsessed with babies, new babies cast aside when they are also the too old babies Jansson shines a light under the bed and into all of my hiding places of my sadness roots Moominvalley is my happy place and my happy place must remind me that I purposely make myself feel sad when I am happy or I could never truly fit in there Like, the Moominvalley denizens are terrified of The Groke in other stories she s not in this collection , their floating talisman of hunger that cannot be fed I guess, after all, I don t fear that kind of loneliness The Groke knows what she is and I wanted to sit with her Helplessly mute to be understood, yes, but there are no forgotten babies So it was supposed to work out that I d briefly feel if things had worked out differently I d be listening to Moominpapa s memoirs right now I got Snufkin There was something wronger than most with this quiz still not lovably quirky like Gonzo, still waiting for the fuzzy blue transformation because I ll never be as cool as Snufkin Snufkin himself would kindly help me understand that I m not supposed to want to be as cool as him Half wishing he was chasing a mental tune into the real I adore Snufkin He loves Moomintroll who would go into hibernation just so he wouldn t have to miss his friend so badly I want to be Moomintroll Don t want to wait for Christmas lights Go to sleep I think Jansson would cherish the waiting, though One of my favorite stories in this set is about the Hemulen desiring his retirement so he can do nothing but love the empty rooms in his dollhouse Of course I want to tell him you can just get a new dream and love the one that came true okay, so Snufkin would do that The children won t understand that he can t stop punching their amusement park tickets His family knew , in the way that families think they know what is best for you, that he had to punch tickets to be happy How it works out with their silent amusement park is a dream to me I love watching children be happy and simultaneously revert to my own fetal position over shrieking Kids begging for watermelon in grocery stores is my personal nightmare I m probably too fragile Hemulen had it made with this I want what he got that wasn t his dream Snufkin isn t a shut out I want to be alone with my savoring aloneness When Sniff expects he s going to be bullied into giving up his beloved toy because it s the Right thing to do , the sacrifice isn t the point of Snufkin s story at all The Fillyjonk LOVED the wet and dark sea beating her carpet and too much inherited family junk staring down the judgement of what she thinks a snotty neighbor could improve if she d just let Fillyjonk confess her fears is similar It isn t the end of everything if the magic whatever can happen inside you to accept it happens It isn t about not wanting to be away from Moomintroll for Snufkin I totally get it too I pretty much always miss wherever I am not I could miss that looked forward to time because I m squeezing myself for a glimpse of how much I m going to want it when it s over Snufkin is so comfortable with himself I want to be envious of how comfortable with himself he is It must be great to be Moomintroll and have this cool friend who can chase away the suspicious twinges things aren t as they should be It doesn t matter if there isn t anyone who can give you permission to switch on the right mood, though Fillyjonk didn t have it and the old lady he tells Sniff about discovers on her own when the laughter happens to shake the bone out of her gut and saves her life thank god Sniff got to keep his Cedric I hate it when anyone grows up too fast and Velveteen Rabbit sadness for no good reason.I love Moominpapa the best I bought myself a small plush of Moominpapa to sit on my favorite bookcase there s a wonderful instagram where someone takes him on adventures I do this with a shark toy already but I m still envious of the fun they must be having with Moominpapa His story about the Hattenfatters is my very favorite Moominpapa is haunted by their unspeakable mystery Those long white figures look like they could start from the ground or start from the sky they are reaching They never say a word and Moominpapa lets himself dismiss the veranda happiness of swimsuits on rocks and juice glasses in the sand I wouldn t want it any if it were everyday, either, I suppose I love envying Moominpapa this life I hope I never forget the quiet feeling inside I got looking at the illustrations of the electrifying gathering of all the Hattenfatters in their meeting boats Moominpapa tries to stick with his three but he isn t sure if he s right about who they are I wanted him to stop mind reading them wrong that he was wrong and live his life as he wanted but it was also so right that sometimes you want to be like the Hattenfatters and just be quiet Snufkin would have understood.All of the pictures were great Little My sitting like a cat on top of the wardrobe in her grandmother s house when the Whomper from next door comes crying because the stories he frightened his little brother with came to frighten him instead I don t know if Little My was having him on or was she afraid too Whomper s dad is understanding about the Whomper s whoppers They go eat all of the dessert I wish that would really happen that you could make yourself scared so you could feel all safe afterwards with desserts As a very little kid I was like Little My then the rest of them Mouthy and fearless except to make it adventurous I m SHOCKED the personality quiz didn t know this Not too sure about the little invisible girl that lets herself disappear because she s afraid of her judgmental aunt The mood at just the right time saves her life, she laughs herself visible, as laughter has saved them all, but I missed the doing it on purpose that Snufkin and Moominpapa had Fillyjonk and this girl let go and won t get their sadness back That is my speed so you can feel invisible and make it all go away by laughing at the same time Stories never have to end if you can make it all happen at the same time.