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Moominpappa at Sea

(Mumintrollen #8)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  5,585 ratings  ·  258 reviews
A Moomintroll is small and shy and fat, and has a Moominpappa and a Moominmamma. Moomins live in the forests of Finland. One day Moominpappa is feeling at a loss. He has no idea what to do with himself because it seems everything has already been done. So he takes his family off to start a new life in a lighthouse on a tiny, rocky island far out to sea. It's rather quiet a ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 4th 2009 by Puffin (first published 1965)
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4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,585 ratings  ·  258 reviews

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Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
The Moomin series has always been remarkable not only for its charm and whimsy, but also for its sense of melancholy, unusual in children's literature. Moominpappa at Sea is a particularly introspective installment; here you will find no heroic battles or overwhelming drama, just one family's quiet journey of self-discovery when they move to a mysterious island. And an island is the perfect setting for this story, for the characters become more and more insular as they explore their new environs ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
This book has everything a children's book should have: Pipe smoking, whisky, and existential crisis.

This book taught me a lot about life when I was younger, and I still find it as comforting and mysterious as ever.

Tove Jansson, you are the best, I give you a kiss on the nose!
Julian Meynell
In my opinion, Tove Jannson is the best children's author who ever lived and one of the ten greatest authors of the twentieth century. I have only read her Moomintroll work and not the work for adults, but I have read almost all of the Moomintroll books, picture books and comic strips. In this review I will focus on Moominpappa at Sea, but I will also try to give a sense of why I think that she deserves to be placed with the likes of Orwell, Nabakov, Hemingway and Selby, even though she wrote bo ...more
Nate D
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
A peculiar only-sort-of-for-children late Moomin novel where the family attempts of combat leisure-ennui by moving to a ragged lighthouse island far out in the ocean. Concerns itself to a large degree with the need for strife, or at least a challenge, to give daily purpose -- without which lies only depression and torpor. Yikes. Still some strange moments of magic and wonder, of course, but tempered by cynicism and a warm-but-realistic sense of the petty and no-so-petty impulses that drive peopl ...more
Stephen Curran
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Moomintroll reports that he has extinguished a small fire in the moss, his father becomes unexpectedly cross and obsessive: "Don't imagine that a spot like this isn't dangerous. Far from it. It can go on burning under the moss, you see. In the ground. Hours and perhaps even days may go by, and then suddenly, whoof! The fire breaks out somewhere quite different." He is, of course, actually speaking about his own lingering dissatisfactions.

This starting point isn't dissimilar to 'The Secret o
This was my third Moomin-book, one I was left in awe after reading. Moominpappa at Sea was deliberately darker than other books on the series I've read this far, something I was not expecting. The story began dark, and it only got darker and more suffocating the longer it continued, a feeling of inevitable doom lingered around the lonely island and the huge lighthouse the Moomin family moved into.

The story circled around Moominpappa, who felt unnecessary, felt less-of-a-man, felt like his missi
Helen McClory
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's To The Lighthouse but with moomins.
Oh, boy. I had heard the later Moomin books weren't as cheery and written to be happy escapism as the earlier ones, but this really was a stark change.

Moominpappa decides he needs a huge life change, so he uproots the family to live on an abandoned lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. There's only one other person living on the island: a strange and lonely fisherman who may be the key to understanding this curious, melancholy place where they live now.

I can't believe how much of this book made
Karl Orbell
Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it
The end is nigh! I've been on this Moomin saga a long time now, some years, occupying my small book, fourth slot on my rota. This is the penultimate book in the series. I'm not really sure they were at all what I was expecting when I started and often find myself not overly impressed about one thing or another. But they do usually turn out to be an acceptable read in the end. This one is no different.

Moomins - Lighthouse

Not for the first time in the series, this book revolves around the sea, the author seems slight
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This Moomin book surprised me! This year I am aiming to read all the Moomin books I haven’t read yet, and this was first up on my list. I expected it to be lighthearted, like Moominsummer Madness, but it definitely had a deeper, darker tone, which reflected on themes of isolation – both physical and emotional. Tove really likes writing about lonely islands! It was interesting reading about how the different characters’ neuroses affect them as their time on the island wears on – Moominpappa becom ...more
I enjoyed taking my time with this book. It has a wonderful, strong atmosphere that I loved just sinking into one or two chapters at a time. The element of sea and living by the seaside is very strong here. I've never lived by the sea, but I still felt I could hear the winds, see the rocks and smell the sea air as I read this. I also love the subtle descriptions of the Moomintroll growing up, and the way the Groke becomes a much deeper character in this book than before.
Mathilde Paulsen
Very melancholy and introspective, this tale of Moominpappa's midlife crisis and how the family deals with moving to and living on an island in the middle of the sea, was infinitely interesting. This book deals with a lot of mature subjects for being a children's book, but then again I think every Moomin-book probably does that. This is definitely a journey of self-discovery for Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomintroll, sprinkled with My and the Groke. I loved reading about the struggles they al ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I don't acutally know any children who might have read this book, but oh boy! This does NOT seem like a children's book.
Rather, I found it a totally profound book about a crisis in masculinty, midlife crisis and the dangers of isolation. Not only poignant but very moving and emphatic. This was so accurately and acutely observed that I'm ready to name it a masterpiece about the postmodern condition. As such, this is miles away from the usual fare of contemporary children's books.
I'd be very inte
Eva Ptašková
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own
I am never going to get tired of Moominpappa at Sea. I knew it when I was 10, I knew it when I was 18 and I'm still as sure now, at 24, after eagerly devouring the book in almost one go, yet again. I've read all Moomin books multiple times but Moominpappa at Sea remains my personal favourite and I can't even begin to tell you how happy I was to finally get my own copy which I was desperately trying to get hold of for years. And then the whole series got rereleased this year for the 100th anniver ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a kid, it felt a lighthearted adventure story. Boy, how gloomy it can be occasionally, when you are... not finding a better word... an adult.
Titus Hjelm
I was never a big fan of the Moomins--I'm weird for a Finn, that way--but I thought I need to pass on the tradition to my daughter, so we read this at bedtime over quite a few weeks. Mate, it's a weird book. I'll have to ask what my daughter thought, but I felt there were parts that were ominous and depressing in a way that few horror books manage to be. I knew the Moomins were not your average fairy tale folks, but this was something else. The story got a bit brighter towards the end, but don't ...more
I love them moomins. But this isn't really a story of sorts. I learned more about the Groke, which I liked and Little My is funny af. But it just kinda aimlessly potters along, with occasional moomin-y moments that make my heart swell. I'll have to read it to my kids to see what they think.

Also, there was some mild moomin sexism, that I was not on board for.
Jed Mayer
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the more downbeat titles in the series, a quiet companion to the somber "Moominvalley in November," this may be the work ever written for children on midlife crisis, making the surprising, nuanced point that such a crisis can happen at any age. Absolutely beautiful, and deeply touching.
Andrew Marshall
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A recent trip to Finland (and Sweden) re-introduced me to the Moomins which I'd read as a child. My memories were of a lovable family of strange creatures. The stories were complex and I always had a sense that I was missing something - although I always enjoyed Tove Jansson's wonderful illustrations. Talking to my Scandinavian friends, I discovered that Jansson was writing as much for adults as children and decided to re-read her.

Momminpappa at Sea is basically about Moominpappa's midlife cris
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Boy, as weird as these books get, this one was the weirdest! The family decides to set off on their boat and live on the tiny dot of an island with a lighthouse on it that Moominpappa has "claimed". There is no food, the lighthouse isn't working, and the former lighthouse keeper is either dead or has completely lost his marbles. Moominmamma becomes so homesick that she paints herself into a mural of their garden at home, Moominpappa tries to find the bottom of a bottomless pit, and Moomintroll m ...more
Jeremy Burrows
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autres
Tove Jansson went from the childish and amusing poetry to a dark, mysterious world. Suspense, thrill, almost anxiety. Moomintroll and his family behave oddly but Little My is incrediblely clever, and the Groke is not the stranger she always was...
Finally, this book has left me fascinated by the emotions it creates, as if Tove Jansson was able to show parts of ourselves that we have never been exploring before.

A fantastic experience, far, far away in the sea...
Probably my favourite of the Moomin books. Having grown up by the sea, Jansson's description of its soul feels very familiar and beautiful and I recognize the feelings that living on a small stormy island with family causes. :P In this book I love the Groke especially much, the character is incredibly fascinating and sad.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Childrens book with very adult themes. It's about the father who wants to feel needed and competent in a confusing world where the mother through graceful effort keeps the family intact. It feels like a Japanese anime with warm characters radiating a cold place.
Count Duckula
Oct 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i once had a fight over this book - some asshole laughed cos i called it chekovian ... its beautiful and if it doesnt make you cry YOU HAVE NO SOUL! I have lived my life never learning the lesson of the sea horses. Actually, I am beginning to learn it now ... but then again I am very old.
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunting. I read this in Swedish and the translator did a fantastic job. If you read the Moomin series from the first to the last, you sense the books growing from just being childrens books to journeys into the soul, rather like The Little Prince. I get very melancholy when I read these books.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest it's been quite a while that I read anything moomin related but this story was just really adorable and exactly what I needed right now. And the illustrations are lovely too.
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book gives you the same feeling you'd get from seeing eyes staring out of the cellar or a strange woman watching you through the window.
Kira Gold
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So cute and fun. A bit gothic in a weird Scandi way. I loved the Moomin books as a kid, and I'm so glad they still hold up today.
Michael Bafford
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a philosophical book about mankind in her environment, but also about relationships and self-awareness.

It's that crazy Moominpappa who drags his family out to an isolated isle at the outer edge of the archipelago. A huge lighthouse dominates the tiny island which is rocky and bare. The lighthouse keeper is gone and the lighthouse empty. Moominpappa assumes the role.

Poor Moominmamma longs for her garden. She sets about creating one, but the island is harsh and the sea is stern. Moominpa
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Tove Jansson was born and died in Helsinki, Finland. As a Finnish citizen whose mother tongue was Swedish, she was part of the Swedish-speaking Finns minority. Thus, all her books were originally written in Swedish.

Although known first and foremost as an author, Tove Jansson considered her careers as author and painter to be of equal importance.

Tove Jansson wrote and illustrated her first Moomin

Other books in the series

Mumintrollen (9 books)
  • The Moomins and the Great Flood (The Moomins, #1)
  • Comet in Moominland (The Moomins, #2)
  • Finn Family Moomintroll (The Moomins, #3)
  • Moominpappa's Memoirs (The Moomins, #4)
  • Moominsummer Madness (The Moomins, #5)
  • Moominland Midwinter (The Moomins, #6)
  • Tales from Moominvalley (The Moomins, #7)
  • Moominvalley in November (The Moomins, #9)
“Making a journey by night is more wonderful than anything in the world.” 79 likes
“Everything's much too big here,' thought Moominmamma. 'Or perhaps I'm too small.” 32 likes
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