Tove Jannson’s Novels
This novel examines desire and deception among residents of a remote snowbound village, and focuses on an intense relationship between two strong women, Katri Kling and Anna Aemelin. These women appear to be total opposites. One is an outcast living with her brother and a nameless dog. The other is more sociable and as close to aristocracy as can be in that locale. The strident battle of wills that ensues makes for an intimate portrait of two disparate outsiders. By the time spring arrives, the two women are caught in a conflict of ideals that threatens to strip them of their most cherished illusions.
Called Jansson’s “most unnerving and unpredictable novel”, deception may be the theme, but there is plenty tension, mystery, and paradox thrown in. The story is sometimes beautiful and sometimes cruel, deeply unsettling, and often startling. This popular book takes a darker look at the subjects that frequently animate the best of Jansson’s work: solitude and community, art and life, love and hate.