How do you come across new books? Somebody recommends them to you or do you simply allow your intuition to take you to that special shelf and your hand stops at that particular book that actually has been waiting for you? I am definitely in the second category and this is how I came across Tove Jansson in the first place. I had no idea who she was, I have never heard of the Mumins but I was attracted by the cover of the book, the fact that it was the biography of a female artist, and that the book was peppered with lots and lots of images of her paintings, illustrations, on top of biographical images. I was in the gift shop area of De la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and bought the book there and then.
The book proved to be a success …. I have not only learned about the fascinating life of a woman artist born in 1914, I’ve learned about life in Finland, about the ups and downs of being a working artist, about living a life aligned to what mattered to her most … love and work, about her timeless children’s classic characters, about the many facets of her as a mortal soul. Her views on life and non conformism reminded me of the Bloomsbury group you will also notice the similarities. Reading “Work and love” by Tuula Karjalainen will be a rich and wonderful experience as it will make you cry, laugh, be amazed and of course fall in love again with memorable characters like the Mumins as well as I am sure it will be an opportunity to enter another person’s reality through her paintings and in such way, it help you connect to a free spirit of a different era.