Snow has been falling on the village all winter long, and there is little to do but trade tales. Everybody’s talking about Katri Kling and Anna Aemelin. Katri is a yellow-eyed outcast who lives with her simpleminded brother and a dog she refuses to name. Anna, an elderly children’s book illustrator, ventures out from her large, empty house only in spring to paint exquisitely detailed forest scenes. Anna has something Katri wants – and by the time spring arrives, the two women are caught in a conflict that threatens the equilibrium of the whole village.
Tove Jansson’s most unnerving and unpredictable novel works almost like a quiet psychological thriller: nothing much happens on the surface but the undercurrents are fierce and dangerous.