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on 22 February 2005
...and for a good reason. Rereading the book after she had written it, Tove Jansson realised that while she was still telling stories about the inhabitants of the Moominvalley, she was no longer writing for children.
But it is wonderful that she did not realise this earlier - the book is beautiful. It is maybe the most melancholy of the Moomin books. It is the November and various characters turn up at the Moominhouse to spend some time with the warm Moomin family, only to find them gone and the house boarded up (to find out where they went, read Moominpappa and the Sea). The montley crew of visitors desides to settle in nevertheless...
This book and Moominpappa and the Sea are the ones that can really be enjoyed by adults, rich, beautifully written and full of exploration of very human issues. In fact, although I loved the Moomin novels as a child, these two I thought were strange and not wholly palatable then. Now they are the ones that stand out as the writer's masterpieces.
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on 21 May 2007
"Fillyjonk had never liked night-time. There's nothing worse than looking into complete darkness; it is like walking straight out into eternity and not having anybody with you."

By the time she came to write this last book in the Moominvalley series, Tove Jansson had declared that she could not longer go back to the 'happy valley' of the earlier novels and this sense of dislocation informs this wonderfully bleak conclusion.

As autumn turns to winter the peripheral characters from the other Moomin novels are drawn back to the Moominhouse by memories of the ever-accommodating family's warmth and liberalism. Finding it cold and abandoned, the odd, the alienated, and the nervous search for warmth and common ground with each other and in the process find that even the most powerful of personalities are made stronger by an ability to compromise.

This little meditation on loneliness and incompatibility never becomes depressive because Jansson's writing is economic, wistful and wry, and the heart behind it all is huge and compassionate.

This is a brave and indelible ending to the best books in the world.
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VINE VOICEon 13 October 2011
Surely no other children's book in the history of literature was written less with children in mind. The Moomin family are hippo-like funny cartoon creatures so it is not unreasonable to assume any books they feature in must be light in tone and aimed at very young readers.

That is absolutely not the case in this, the last of the Moomin books proper.

In fact, Tove Jansson examines deep and serious issues here, the effect is rather disconcerting if the reader has only experienced early Moomin works like "Comet in Moominland" before reading this book; Rather like Ingmar Bergman writing and directing an episode of "the Smurfs" TV cartoon series.

Actually, the Moominfamily evolved from the sunny stories of the earliest books, through works like "Moominpappa at Sea" where more adult themes of isolation and loss are examined. Here, in "November" almost all of the childish aspects of the series are stripped away. Even the Moomims themselves do not appear. Like Godot, they are the promised meaningful conclusion that, painfully, never comes.

The collection of (mostly) minor supporting characters discuss life and its meaning or lack of meaning e.g. :
""There's one thing that's funny" said the Hemulen."Sometimes I feel that everything we say and do and everything that happens has happend once before,eh?"...."Will you always be the same?"Fillyjonk asked...Grandpa-Grumble looked from one to the other, he was very tired of...their talk about things which didn't make anything seem more real."It's cold here," he said.." (p139)

Tove Jansson was a genius writer and this atmospheric, beautiful book is as good as anything she wrote.

Rather unfairly, she is also a genius atrist. The sketches, line drawings and larger picures that fill this work are a delight.My own favourite is the drawing of the waterfront houses , deserted and cold.(p.13)
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on 4 November 2013
And reading Moominvalley in November to my daughter felt like that mad surge. I don't know what she made of it: I scarcely dare to ask. I read some of the Moomin books as a child, but I can't remember which ones, and probably in a jumbled order. I recall a strange world that managed to be cosy and unsettling at the same time. This time, we have worked our way through until this elegiac end, and I realised that I was reading childrens' books written more for me than for her. That I was sharing with her something that she will only understand when I am no longer there to share it with her.
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on 28 May 2012
I read Comet in Moominland about 10 times when I was a child. It was fascinating, fabulous and comforting. As an adult I recently read Tales from Moominvalley and was surprised how poignant and touching these tales were. Moominvalley in November is a book for children but has a lot in it that adults will identify with and could learn from. Our irrational fears, desperate need to interfere and change things, longing for company and yet needing our own personal space are all simply and yet deeply highlighted. When I finished the book the character of Toft made me go back right to the beginning and start to read again. Wonderful!
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on 10 July 2008
Probably the most adult and psychological of the Moomin novels - a group of diverse creatures is drawn to Moominvalley to wait .. and wait ..

The obsessive-compulsive Fillijonk, the hermetic Snufkin, Grandpa-Grumble and other superbly imagined characters meet in a typically surreal environment. Did the Nummulite, a being that evolved from a Protozoan into a fierce Creature ever exist outside the imagination of Toft? And just how DOES one listen to the darkness? Themes of loneliness, longing and loss play heavily on the mind.

A strange, unsettling and quite wonderful book.
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on 3 March 2016
I'm in my fifth decade and this is my second reading, for me this time, not to my (now adult) children. Can't wait for grandchildren so I can see the wonder in their eyes. Such philosophy and quirky charm. Highly recommend all Jansson's books for all ages ... eternal classics.
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on 5 December 2011
I think the other reviews here have got this dead on so there is little to add. It was the only Moomin book I didn't quite 'get' as a kid ('At Sea' was a little downbeat and quiet but at 11 I could still appreciate it).

Made a resolution this year to finally read 'November' after it sort of jumped out at me off the shelf in my kid's room. I decided to read it in the correct month whihch helped set the right mood. It's brilliant - yes, it is Proustian etc.. but it's also very Tove Jansson. Buy it NOW, but don't expect to consume it at a sitting - it's very reflective, adult and there are no action sequences! Jansson - genius. Moomin books - best in class, still.
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on 6 February 2016
lovely book, in very good condition. Had ordered another 2 (different titles) at the same time but they haven't arrived yet.!. Looking forward
to receiving the other 2 soon. Very happy with quality of this little book. Thank you.
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on 2 November 2013
If you like something different and querky for your bedtime read with the kids Moomins are an excellent choice.The beautiful and detailed descriptions from this author are wonderful and often hilarious, The outlandish and imaginative tales will appeal to both you and your children.
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