A review of
The True Deceiver
by Tove Jansson
I am thinking about a watch and all those mechanisms carefully crammed into so small a space, performing their exacting task so unrelentingly. As a watch makes timekeeping seem trivial by simply marking discrete seconds, The True Deceiver makes storytelling seem simple by marking the narrative in only the most lucid, concrete sentences: “And by and by came winter.” But as this narrative ticks forward, it becomes evident that a book of almost inscrutable intricacy is being built from so many simple, separate components gradually enmeshing. I’m thinking about Anna’s exactingly detailed paintings of the forest floor and Mats’s meticulous ship designs and Katri’s uncanny ability to impersonate and, yes, Tove Jansson’s clinically clean prose.
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