The True Deceiver

Recently finished reading Tove Jansson‘s The True Deceiver. A cool, mysterious, deceptive (appropriately) novel. The writing is beautiful in an unflashy way – an almost glacial surface (hard not to reach for those Nordic metaphors), troubling undercurrents, piquant details. I was captivated by the sense of place, the winter which never seems to end, the small insular community and the pettily mean interactions between characters (and occasionally kind, selfless, humane actions too). An understated feeling of menace runs through the book, and the shifts in the power relationship between the two main characters are subtly worked and ring psychologically true. A fine introduction by Ali Smith, too, who is a great champion of Jansson’s fiction for adults, though the introduction is best read after you’ve read the novel itself.

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