The True Deceiver

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.

 

“Jansson wrote “The True Deceiver,” one of her greatest novels, when she was in her late sixties. Riveting, original, and strange, it concerns Anna Aemelin, a writer and illustrator of children’s books, who lives alone and whose life is infiltrated—for better and worse—by Katri, a mysterious loner, who behaves at once like an assistant and a grifter. Anna has been endowed with Jansson’s preoccupation with maintaining an image—that performance as a gentle, cultivated, enraptured child of nature.”

– The New Yorker

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.

 

“Jansson wrote “The True Deceiver,” one of her greatest novels, when she was in her late sixties. Riveting, original, and strange, it concerns Anna Aemelin, a writer and illustrator of children’s books, who lives alone and whose life is infiltrated—for better and worse—by Katri, a mysterious loner, who behaves at once like an assistant and a grifter. Anna has been endowed with Jansson’s preoccupation with maintaining an image—that performance as a gentle, cultivated, enraptured child of nature.”

– The New Yorker

info

  • Year of publication

    1982

  • Original title

    Den ärliga bedragaren

  • Page count

    208

Reviews

  • Ali Smith

    One of Jansson's most deceptively quiet, most astonishing compositions.

Authors

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