Deception-the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others -is the subject of The True Deceiver, Tove Jansson's most unnerving and unpredictable novel. Here Jansson takes a darker look at the subjects that animate the best of her work: solitude and community, art and life, love and hate. All winter long the snow has been falling on the village. The sun rises late in the day, and once it does, there is little to do but trade tales. This year the talk of the town is all about Katri Kling and Anna Armelin. Katri is a yellow-eyed outcast who lives in a room with her simple teenaged brother and a dog she never bothered to name. She has no use for the daily dishonesties that smooth social life, but she can see to the rational core of any problem. Anna, an elderly children's book illustrator, is a respected and easygoing, if aloof, member of society. She lives alone in her family mansion, venturing out come springtime to paint exquisitely detailed paintings of the forest floor (to which her young fans insist she add adorable pink bunnies). When Anna needs someone to help around the house, Katri eagerly volunteers. It's not long before she and her brother have moved into the mansion and taken charge of just about every aspect of Anna's life and livelihood. As the season becomes increasingly oppressive, the two women find themselves engaged in a confrontation that will gradually strip away their cherished illusions.