I’ll start with some explanations.
There is, below these explanations, a work of fanfiction.
This work of fanfiction is intended purely as homage to the work of Tove Jansson, since it just so happens (as noted in my previous post) that August the 9th, 2014 is the centenary of Tove Jansson’s birth. In essence, I’ve written a ‘Moomin’ story. It goes without saying that this is done without any thought of personal gain, and with every intention of treating the subject matter respectfully and in a manner which, I hope, does not damage the reputation of Tove Jansson in any way. (I would also note that, since the story uses elements from at least two of the books as backstory, it probably won’t make a lot of sense to people who aren’t familiar with the Moomin books themselves. If you fall into this category, please do yourself a favour and go and buy the books – the central canon comprises Comet in Moominland, Finn Family Moomintroll, The Exploits of Moominpappa, Moominsummer Madness, Moominland Midwinter, Tales from Moominvalley, Moominpappa at Sea, and Moominvalley in November – because they are utterly brilliant, and magical in a way that no other children’s fiction manages to be. In my humble opinion, at any rate.)
I’ve called my attempt at a Moomin story ‘The Last Hattifattener’. I’ve made no pretence at trying to match Jansson’s written style (or, as I know it, the style imposed through her various English translators), though I have made some efforts to keep some similarities in sense of humour. I don’t have Jansson’s deftness with emotional tone and clarity of characterisation, but I’ve tried to muddle through as best I can. I’ve aimed for something that feels at once next-generational – Tove Jansson’s writing has provided an inspiration to many writers since (as well, of course, as entertainment to a great many readers) – and a bit elegiac, since she is, alas, no more.
I’ve written this because I’ve felt a compulsion to do so. And it’s a long-running compulsion: thirty years ago, I very much wanted to be able to write stories in the style of Tove Jansson; I’m happy enough, now, realising that I can’t … but I’ve felt it necessary to explore the conceit of the attempt. Which you will find below.
Is more explanation required? Or do I run the risk that, in over-explaining, I bleach all life from the thing I’m trying to explain? The essence is this: the story is offered in homage; it has acknowledged imperfections; if it in some manner helps to spark someone’s interest in Tove Jansson’s writing then I will consider that it has served some useful purpose despite those acknowledged imperfections.
So. Below the cut, one possibly-misguided act of homage.
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