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The dark side of the Moomins

The cartoon trolls are a children's favourite. But, as a new exhibition reveals, they haunted their creator

By Jane Shilling   November 2017

Tove Jansson in her studio. Photo: Wikimedia/Reino Loppinen

As a child, I heartily disliked the Moomins. A well-meaning aunt bought me Tove Jansson’s book, Finn Family Moomintroll, but the bulbous, mild-mannered, hippopotamus-like Moomins and their extended social circle of fantastical beings, who all seemed to be either tiny, spiky and furious, or vast, amorphous and depressed, failed to cast the expected spell. Instead of being captivated, I was overcome by a feeling that I hadn’t yet acquired the language to express. These days I would call it dread.


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