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Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo

Troll: A Love Story (2000)

by Johanna Sinisalo

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8053011,340 (3.72)75

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English (25)  Finnish (3)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All (30)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
'I've tried to capture part of the forest and now the forest has captured me', 20 Jan. 2013
sally tarbox

This review is from: Not Before Sundown (Paperback)
When gay Mikael rescues a young troll from a gang of drunken yobs, he at once states:
'It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
I know straight away that I want it.'
In Sinisalo's novel, trolls are a rare but scientifically accepted species, and the very short chapters, narrated by different people who feature in the story (but not Pessi, the 'tamed' troll) are interspersed with literary and non-fiction references to the creatures.
The situation of Pessi, kept penned up in a Helsinki flat by a stronger creature, is parallelled by Mikael's neighbour, a young Filipino mail-order bride, living a hellish existence with her brute of a husband. She too gets sucked in to the troll story...
A very unusual and intriguing read. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
In this winner of the Finlandia Award, trolls are presented as a real but extremely rare species of animal discovered in 1907. Angel, a young gay photographer/graphic designer finds an injured young troll one evening and takes it in. In order to save the troll, who he names Pessi, Angel seeks to learn everything he can about trolls, and chapters relating the story of Angel's falling in love with Pessi, are interspersed quotations and excerpts from real and fictional works referring to trolls. This was a fascinating read.

3 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 8, 2016 |
Sinisalo posits that trolls are actual creatures, just long unknown to science because of their shy and nocturnal habits. When our protagonist, a gay ad designer, finds a young troll being abused by a gang of teenagers, he takes the creature into his home. However, rather than calling animal control, or the usual authorities one might notify when one finds a rare and endangered animal, he develops a weird – and even sexual obsession with the wild creature.
He finds himself going to odd lengths in his personal life – using sex as a bartering tool, sabotaging relationships with friends and lovers – all to care for and conceal the troll.
An ongoing literary parallel is made between this strange pairing and that of the teenage Filipina mail-order bride and her husband/captor who live in the apartment downstairs.

Although technically science-fiction (the occurrences in the novel do have scientific, technical explanations), this has been marketed as a mainstream book. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Tiptree winner 2004. Excellent! ( )
  SChant | Apr 22, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:04 -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)

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