Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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The Tuesday Afternoon "It's Kawaii" Review: Moominpapa's Memoirs

I was on a street in Hong Kong when I saw the strangest piece of kawaii I'd ever seen. It wasn't the usual Hello Kitty tat, instead, this time it was a neck holder for a mobile phone decorated with a Snufkin. Somehow, Tove Jansson's Moomins had made it from the Finnish end of the Baltic archipelago to the Far East, and had become "cute".

Moominpapa's Memoirs isn't what I'd define as kawaii, as like Moominvalley in November or Moominpapa at Sea there's a certain darkness lurking in the back of the usual moomin whimsy. Mominpapa's memories show a certain self-serving editing, intriguingly noted in italicised conversations with the familiar younger inhabitants of Moominvalley. His life story is a rollercoaster of adventures that starts with his foundling birth (which changes every time he tells the story) and ends with the heroic rescue of Moominmama (reminiscent of the first meeting of Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden).

A rewrite of the more familiar Exploits Of Moominpapa, this is a short novel that adds much to our understanding of the Moomin way of life, and the drives that push our heroes over the horizon in pursuit of Hattifatteners. There's also a redemptive edge to some of the descriptions, with the Hemulen's Aunt finding fulfilment, as well as closure, in a sunrise ending that rounds off the whole series.

A great escape back to a childhood favourite.
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