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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and thought-provoking
This is the story of a woman who inveigles her way into the home of a famous and wealthy children's book illustrator in order to take advantage of her. At least, that is how the inhabitants of their snowy village regard it. On the other hand, you could also say she improves the artist's life by reorganising her muddled filing systems, and renegotiating contracts that have...
Published on 9 Mar 2012 by nyonya

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An outsider's tale
Tove Jansson is a very distinctive writer. She uses sparse sentences where every word counts, and has a way of getting the reader to care about quirky characters who are not always particularly sympathetic. True Deceiver centres on an intelligent but emotionally stunted young woman and her slightly simple younger brother, parentless outsiders in a small Finnish fishing...
Published on 2 Mar 2010 by Adrenalin Streams


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and thought-provoking, 9 Mar 2012
By 
nyonya (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The True Deceiver (Kindle Edition)
This is the story of a woman who inveigles her way into the home of a famous and wealthy children's book illustrator in order to take advantage of her. At least, that is how the inhabitants of their snowy village regard it. On the other hand, you could also say she improves the artist's life by reorganising her muddled filing systems, and renegotiating contracts that have previously been to her severe disadvantage. However, nothing is straightforward in their relationship, and by the end you are left wondering who has really gained the upper hand.

It is a beautifully crafted study of human character, with a tinge of menace lurking in the background, and I thoroughly recommend it.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tove Jansson--The True Deceiver, 30 Oct 2009
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
The Finnish,Swedish-speaking,Tove Jansson is
known for her children's Moomin stories.Her
'Summer Book'and 'A Winter Book' have also been
translated into English and very well received.
The latest novel to be translated,'The True
Deceiver' is a beautifully and sparsely written
tale about truth.lies,deception and art,that
lingers long in the mind after completion.
Set in a snowy Swedish village,Katri is an
outsider living with her simple-minded brother.
She is brutally frank and has no time for social
niceties.Anna is an elderly artist living isolated
in a large house in the village.When she needs
assistance Katri (and her brother)move in with her,
and gradually proceed to shatter the other's perceptions.
A marvellous and unusual book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pyschologically challenging, 5 July 2010
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This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
This was my first encounter with Tove Jansson writing for adults, thus providing an insight into the psychology of two very strong female characters. In a way both women are 'loners', they socialise with the other inhabitants in the village because of material needs.
Anna, the older woman, lives alone and has had a cossetted upbringing: she is a successful writer of childrens' books, while Katri, the younger character worries for her sibling Mats. Mats is not overbright but has a talent, as a boat designer.
Katri ruthlessly controls her own life, her dog (with no name), and is unashamedly forthright to those with whom she comes in contact. Katri's inveigling herself into Anna's life and home, and their personal conflict is brilliantly played out, through Jansson's narrative, (at no time verbose). It is the reader who decides who the 'true deceiver' is, and how the women move on after the last page.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Winter read, 17 Dec 2009
By 
Read Me (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
This novel tells the story of a small village which is relatively cut off by snow and ice. Katri and her brother Mats live above one of the shops but she decides that they should move to the large Rabbit House near the woods. Problematically the house is owned by reclusive author Anna who spends her days writinig letters and waiting for Spring to come so that she can illustrate her children's books.

The isolation of each of the characters for differing reasons combined with the oppresive blanket of snow and ice over everything make it a chilling read. The deceiver of the title appears to be Katri as she manipulates her way into Anna's life and clears the way for her ambitions.

This is a brilliant read, perfect for cold winter days. Its not quite a psychological thriller but all the elements are there; The characters get more suspicious and wary of each other throughout the novel. A great atmospheric read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The wind's assault on the trees produced voices, music, distant cries...", 3 April 2011
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
This is, as Ali Smith says in her introduction, an "unassuming, unexpected, powerful piece of work." Within this novel Jansson tackles, in a mood of dark existentialism, the Scandinavian winter. The novel is set in a tiny hamlet bounded by a vast lake and a deep, dark forest. Anna Armelin lives in the forest in what is known as "The Rabbit House", inside the walls have washed to a faded blue, outside the children build tunnels in the snow that only they can traverse. In a sense, every house is under siege to the children, but in particular they target Katri and her brother Mats, who, along with Anna Armelin, are at the core of this story. The village is a hotbed of vicious gossip, the main subject being Katri, who is clever and sharp, who rarely smiles and never laughs and who is accompanied everywhere by her huge Alsatian dog.

The events of this novel are not earth-shaking, but one becomes embroiled in the negotiations between brother and sister and selected members of the tiny community, as Katri struggles to fulfil her dream. The writing is brilliantly stark and cool (in both senses of the word) as relationships are forged and broken apart in this beautifully crafted and compulsively readable novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, 17 Aug 2010
By 
Mrs. Audrey Williams (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
Lies, truth, love. There is always something in her novels that evoke Scandinavia-darkness, silence, mystery, hardness, pragmatism, climate.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An outsider's tale, 2 Mar 2010
This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
Tove Jansson is a very distinctive writer. She uses sparse sentences where every word counts, and has a way of getting the reader to care about quirky characters who are not always particularly sympathetic. True Deceiver centres on an intelligent but emotionally stunted young woman and her slightly simple younger brother, parentless outsiders in a small Finnish fishing village. The plot centres on the desire of the young woman to get ahead, to make money (her obsession) for herself and her brother, and the way she tries to achieve this by worming her way, somewhat deceitfully, into the life of an elderly spinster who paints books for children. The title of the book examines who actually exploits whom in this relationship. A lovely book slightly let down by a meandering last couple of chapters.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully spare, 12 Dec 2009
By 
J. Forse "John Forse" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
All Tove Jansson's adult stories published in UK to date are magic, and this is of the same quality. An excellent introduction by Ali Smith sets the scene well for what to expect, and the story itself never disappoints. This is wonderful hone-down writing at it's best. In very few words, you soon feel you know the characters and the settings well, and the author through them, explores many areas of honesty, self-knowledge, social mores, and integrity. A very satisfying read
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful book, beautiful translation, 8 Jan 2010
This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
There's far more to Tove Jansson than her Moomintrolls. This novel, like her children's books, is full of poetry and solitude.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The service was quick and reliable, thank you..., 21 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The True Deceiver (Paperback)
It was quick and reliable, and I hadn't found any other way to buy it. However as I am not a native speaker of English, pls don't require an essay on the subject. Thank you.
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The True Deceiver
The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson (Paperback - 22 Oct 2009)
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