The True Deceiver – Tove Jansson

Another book in my A -Z Book Challenge.

I think this author is probably best known for her Moomin books for young readers.  You may have read them.

Tove Jansson, in 1966, was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award for writing, which is an international award given biennially in recognition of a lasting contribution to children’s literature.

The True Deceiver is one of her books for adults.

From the bookjacket:

In the deep winter snows of a Swedish hamlet, a strange young woman fakes a break-in at the house of an elderly artist in order to persuade her that she needs companionship.  But what does she hope to gain by doing this? And who ultimately is deceiving whom?  In the portrayal of two women grappling with truth and lies, nothing can be taken for granted.  By the time the snow thaws both their lives will have changed irrevocably.

I haven’t read any of her adult books until now. I can say that I really loved this book.  It was only a short read as it was 176 pages.  There was also an introduction by Ali Smith which gave some insight into the novel and the author.

The novel is about the understanding of human behavior, the miscommunication between humans and how people can casually harm each other. The tensions are evident between the two main characters ( Anna and Katri ) about a dog, a boy and a boat . We are being asked to examine what behaviour is honest and what is kind and how an unthinking act of kindness can harm. The setting in a Swedish village in winter adds to the eeriness of the novel.

It is a fascinating and haunting read. You are left wondering to whom the title True Deceiver refers.

5 thoughts on “The True Deceiver – Tove Jansson

  1. I was brought up on the Moomin books, and I think I might enjoy this one. She’s written other books for adults hasn’t she, I’m sure I had one that was also set in a snowy Sweden, but I can’t remember anything else about it now. I’ll look out for this though, thank you for the recommendation.

  2. Tove Jansson has written many other great books for adults! The Summer Book is one of her best known, which I am currently reading and it’s an absolute delight. I’ll be reviewing it soon and plan to read The True Deceiver next!

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