April 15th, 2020


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The Moomins and the Great Flood, by Tove Jansson

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Så vandrade de vidare, längre och längre in i tystnaden och mörkret. Småningom kände sig mumintrollet ängsligt och frågade viskande sin mamma om hon trodde det fanns några farliga djur därinne. “Knappast”, sa hon, “fast det är kanske bäst att vi går lite fortare i alla fall. Men jag hoppas att vi är så små att vi inte märks ifall det skulle komma något farligt.” So they walked on, further and further into the silence and the darkness. Little by little, Moomintroll began to feel anxious, and he asked his mother in a whisper if she thought there were any dangerous creatures in there. “I shouldn’t think so,” she said, “though perhaps we’d better go a little faster anyway. But I hope we’re so small that we won’t be noticed if something dangerous should come along.”
This is the very first of the Moomin books, published in 1945. The Moomins had not yet evolved to be the rambling nuclear family that we are used to; instead Moominmamma and Moomintroll cross an eerie landscape looking for Moominpappa, encountering strange but generally friendly creatures en route, and eventaully settling down in Moominvalley. Several of the plot elements were recycled (and done better) in later books. I think this is really for Moomin completists only; I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point - better for new readers to begin with Comet in Moominland. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2017. Next on that pile (after a recalculation) is Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens.