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Not Before Sundown by Johanna Sinisalo
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Not Before Sundown (original 2000; edition 2003)

by Johanna Sinisalo

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Title:Not Before Sundown
Authors:Johanna Sinisalo
Info:Peter Owen Ltd (2003), Paperback, 220 pages
Collections:ALL FICTION READ-OWNED & UNOWNED, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:read in 2013, european lit-FINLAND, 2000s, 21st century literature

Work details

Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo (2000)

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» See also 70 mentions

English (21)  Finnish (3)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Well. I must tell you. Two things broke this book to crap for me. Although it was generally rather boring, and I skipped all the alternating chapter of “Troll lore” that were just pointless (despite my love of mythology), and the ludicrous structure that switched so quickly from one character POV to another (in chapters as brief as a paragraph that communicate such deep transitions as “I swung my fist at him.” “His fist hit me in the cheek.”) that they pick up immediately where the other character left off mid-action (must we humiliate ourselves at the alter of Roshomon?), and the “mail order bride” character who lived downstairs and was beaten (don’t care, don’t believe it), and the relationships that were so dysfunctional you don’t like anyone at all, and the majority of characters being so shallow you, again, don’t care, and the fairly flat writing style, and utter lack of humor, and the just-not-quite-convincing behavior of this “troll”, no, it wasn’t all that that broke me on the book, and it certainly wasn’t the perverted troll bestiality-—been there, done that—-nor was it necessarily the offhand reference to a troll by a child as a “black man” when these trolls are, uhm, animalistic wild things and sure, out of the mouths of babes, but to leave a casually racist comment unaddressed for the entirety of a book that’s all about this guy adopting a foundling troll is uncomfortable, but still no, it wasn’t that although I felt that was inexcusable.

It was the troll being stuffed into hipster jeans by the main character (commercial photographer) for an ad campaign, and it supposedly being so serious and traumatic when in fact it was just so stupid it was painful. And then finally at the end, the image of papa troll…well, surprise they weren’t so dumb after all. In fact, they stole some guns and know how to use ‘em. And the troll waves the guy into the cave…using the gun like an old time gangsta. Move it buddy, this forest troll’s packin’ heat. This second moment was just so stupid I was embarrassed reading it.

What can I say. Unable to suspend belief. And I love the fantastical. Move along people, nothing to read here.
( )
  David_David_Katzman | Nov 26, 2013 |
It was a very strange read, this book. It was okay though. I liked it mostly because of the way it was written, the chapters where we, readers, see things through the eyes of the character that is the storyteller and sometimes the scene is repeated by the other 'participant' in the scene.

I have difficulties with the fact that this book is types as scfi-fi. Or, maybe I don't understand the type of book that is since, like a few other readers here, do not read or like the genre much.
For me it was in general too normal (every day) to say it is sci-fi. At first I did not recognize Angel as a male character, since Angel is also a female name. Well, a book full of surprises. I'm happy to have read it, and I'm happy that I'm done. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Urban fantasy, folklore, poetry, news clippings, quasi-changeling-myth, gay erotica. What more could you really ask from a novel?

This is a story told from many people's perspectives, and while their voices aren't terribly distinct, it still works, possibly because the chapters are so short. The weakest part of the writing was the news clippings, and I'm chalking that up to translation.

I never really felt hugely connected to the characters, but it's engrossing all the same. One of the best books I've read in some time. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |
Finland.

Troll is an enjoyable fantasy novel in pastiche form. Sinisalo weaves together mythology, invented news reports and research works, and short sections from multiple narrators' perspectives to tell a psychological tale that is definitely homoerotic, possibly bestial, and definitely not for children. In some regards, this could be pleasingly paired with Donohue's The Stolen Child and Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
Why did I read it? It came up a few times on recommended lists and a book which featured a troll by a Finnish writer seemed like an interesting read, even when the synopsis hinted at sexual themes.

What's it about? Mikael is returning from a gay club one evening and intercepts a gang intent on beating a cornered animal. Upon seeing the victim, it becomes clear to Mikael it is a young troll and, intoxicated by liquor and the beauty of the troll itself, he takes it home with him. Mikael attempts to restore the troll to health by reading all sorts of materials, but never seems aware of the intoxicating pheromones the troll exudes, and which come to mingle with his own scent.

What did I like? It's a different kind of fantasy I suppose. The chapters were short, making it a quick read and, once again, the ending isn't neatly tied up. I was a little interested in the fate of the troll, and some of the snippets of information inserted between chapters were intriguing.

The portrayal of the futility of attempting to tame an animal which thrives in the wild was quite well done. The story also highlights the increasing urbanisation of previously wild environments which is forcing many an animal/creature to adapt and survive on our terms, and how much mankind/humans are adverse to this encroachment by "wild things" on what they consider their turf.

What didn't I like? "Not Before Sundown" as it's also known, just didn't grab me. I stopped caring about Mikael, or what fate awaited him fairly early in the story, when his tiresome selfish/self-centered personality was revealed. Eventually, the factual accounts, snippets of folklore and various bits of information regarding trolls which was inserted between chapters also became tedious. Thus, the book dragged itself, limping, to it's conclusion[?].

Certain sexual aspects of Mikael's behaviour were also very off-putting; more particularly, his feelings towards Pessi, the troll.

Would I recommend it? I can't say I would, mostly because I cannot think of anyone who should enjoy reading it; certainly no-one of my acquaintance. ( )
  Sile | May 8, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Hannu, Markku, Petri, and Toni, who were there
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I'm starting to get worried. Martes's face seems to be sort of fluctuating in the light fog induced by my four pints of Guiness.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Original title Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi has been used in literal English translation as Not before Sundown.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802141293, Paperback)

Everyone has their rough nights, but things have clearly taken a turn for the surreal when Angel, a young photographer, finds a group of drunken teenagers in the courtyard of his apartment building, taunting a young troll. Trolls are known in Scandinavian mythology as wild beasts like the werewolf, but this troll is just a small, wounded creature. Angel decides to offer it a safe haven for the night. In the morning Angel thinks he dreamed it all. But he finds the troll alive, well, and drinking from his toilet. What does one do with a troll in the city? Angel begins researching frantically. Angel searches the Internet, folklore, nature journals, and newspaper clippings, but his research doesn't tell him that trolls exude pheromones that have a profound aphrodisiac effect on all those around him. As Angel's life changes beyond recognition, it becomes clear that the troll is familiar with the man's most forbidden feelings, and that it may take him across lines he never thought he'd cross. A novel of sparkling originality, Troll is a wry, peculiar, and beguiling story of nature and man's relationship to wild things, and of the dark power of the wildness in ourselves.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:41 -0400)

"Angel, a young photographer, comes home from a night of carousing to find a group of drunken teenagers in the courtyard of his apartment building, taunting a wounded, helpless young troll. He takes it in, not suspecting the dramatic consequences of this decision. What does one do with a troll in the city? As the troll's presence influences Angel's life in ways he could never have predicted, it becomes clear that the creature is the familiar of man's most forbidden feelings. Troll is a wry, beguiling story of nature and man's relationship to wild things, and of the dark power of the wildness in ourselves."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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