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Merle

Merle

The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson

The True Deceiver - Tove Jansson, Thomas Teal, Ali Smith

A hard-edged young woman on the fringes of society decides she wants what a local children’s book illustrator (a vague, reclusive and clueless woman) has, and sets out to get it according to her own peculiar moral code. Over the course of a long Finnish winter, both characters use each other, take from each other and perhaps become a little more like each other by the end.

This novella is a quick read and an interesting one. But it is perhaps too literary for me – it is all very subtle and symbolic, to the point that the actual text feels like just the tip of the iceberg. Symbols are fine when they work within the story, but I have a hard time believing a dog would behave as this one does (running wild the minute it gets inconsistent signals from different people). Still worth reading for the way it brings its settings and characters to life.