Tove Jansson’s works, even her famed Moomin books, fairly teem with letters of one kind or another, from messages bobbing in bottles to whole epistolary novels. Fortunately for her countless readers, her life was no different, unfolding as it did in the letters to family, friends, and lovers that make up this volume, an autobiography over the course of six decades—and the only one Jansson ever wrote.
Letters From Tove, a wonderful collection of letters written by the Finnish artist and writer Tove Jansson is full of such examples of casual brilliance and beauty; Sarah Death’s seemingly effortless translation preserves the clear-eyed grace and humour that was a hallmark of Jansson’s writing, from her beloved Moomins stories to her adult fiction ... Although just a little more biographical detail might have been helpful at times...the book is remarkably coherent, with the overlapping correspondences offering a rounded picture of Jansson’s life and relationships ... The book also offers a fascinating and often moving glimpse into the world of queer women in mid-century Finland ... This collection presents us with that bouquet in all its vivid freshness, and offers readers the privilege of spending time inside an intelligent, creative, curious, generous, funny, unsentimental mind. Few books have given me as much pure pleasure this year.
...reveals Jansson as a complex, passionate and exceptionally hardworking artist. You may even come away agreeing with Philip Pullman’s assessment that she is a genius, though not all geniuses would be such good company over nearly 500 pages. Sarah Death, who translated the letters from the Swedish, gives Jansson a casual voice that makes her already forthright manner especially appealing ... Readers who come to the letters without prior knowledge of Jansson’s life and circle will find they are charmed but sometimes frustrated by this volume, which is slight on notes and arranged in a less than intuitive way ... Though relationship drama makes for fun reading, Jansson’s letters amount to something more significant and rare: a brilliant artist’s account of her life, written in real time.
This spirited collection of letters by Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson...best known for the 'Moomin' children’s books and comics, brims with affection, humor, and artistry ... Readers who want to supplement the letters with an outright biography can turn to editor Boel Westin’s Tove Jansson: Life, Words, Art or Tuula Karjalainen’s Tove Jansson: Work and Love ...but the intimate view the letters give of us Jansson’s efforts to 'become free' as a woman and an artist make them a stand-alone pleasure.