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At first I didn't quite know what I would do with the book, other than read it over and over again. My distrust of history then was still strong, and I wanted to concentrate on the story for its own sake, rather than on the manuscript's scientific, cultural, anthropological, or 'historical' value. I was drawn to the author himself.

Orhan Pamuk

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🦋 Moominpappa's Memoirs

I always have thought of Moominpappa's Memoirs as the least interesting book in the series, worth reading only for the sake of completeness. But I have been reading it to Sylvia, at her request, for the past week or so; and this time around I am getting a fuller picture of it -- it is not just Moominpappa's boastful relation of his exploits, but rather his telling to Moomintroll (and Sniff, and Snufkin). There is a level of irony and distance that I wasn't really noticing before -- what I mean is, it was clear (in my previous reading) that Moominpappa was making a lot of stuff up to make himself look important -- that is an obvious part of the joke that's going on. But I thought that was the whole joke, and it's a kind of limited and corny one. Now I am picking up on the fact that Moominpappa is himself in on the joke and that he's winking at his audience -- this seems much more interesting to me than if it's just Jansson winking at me.

Also: Sylvia says of the two Jansson picture books (Moomin, Mymble, and Little My and Who Will Comfort Toffle?) that "one is funny and one is serious", and that she prefers the funny one. (I kind of have to agree, though Toffle is pretty charming too.)

posted evening of Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
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