Thursday, 5 August 2010

The True Deceiver

Title: The True Deceiver

Author: Tove Jansson

Number of pages: 202

Started: 3 August 2010

Finished: 5 August 2010

Opening words:

It was an ordinary dark winter morning, and snow was still falling. No window in the village showed a light. Katri screened the lamp so she wouldn't wake her brother while she made coffee and put the Thermos beside his bed. The room was very cold. The big dog lay by the door and looked at her with his nose between his paws, waiting for her to take him out.

Read the first chapter here.

Plot summary:

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 this portrayal of two women encircling each other with truth and lies, nothing can be taken for granted. By the time the snow thaws, both their lives will have changed irrevocably.

What I thought:

This was a marvellous book and I so enjoyed reading it. It has the qualities of a fable in some ways, and the tone seems very light, but there is a dark undertone beneath that. I thought it was a well written story that essentially was about the relationship between an old woman who sees the good in the world and a young woman who sees the bad. The book is set in a very snowy winter and would make a great dark December afternoon read, and I plan to re-read it at a suitable time.

It was a nicely observed story that was very engaging and the pages just flew by. You can probably read this book in less than three hours. When I got to the end, I just had to find someone (anyone!) to tell them how much I had enjoyed the book, and fortunately found a colleague who I often discuss books with. A delightful, and yet dark read.


Sarah said...

It sounds like such a contrast with The Summer Book. Brrrr! I have The Summer Book on order, and if I like it perhaps I will treat myself to this one in the winter.

Recently people seem to be reading/discussing Tove Jansson with such enthusiasm, when several years ago I would have considered her faded into the obscurity of someone who wrote books one had once read as a kid. Is it just on the back of the Moomin Troll film, do you think?

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - yes it is rather a contrast, but I do think it is superior.

I had never heard of Tove Jansson (although I had heard of The Moomins) until I said to a friend that I was going to Sweden and wanted to read an author of that ilk. Do read this book, it is very good.

I just had a search and was looking at a picture of some moomins and I think my grandparents had a book about them. That brought back a strange memory!