FINLAND: Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo

Picked up a really interesting and different book by a Finnish author for this month – Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo (it’s titled “Not Before Sundown” in everything but the North American release). Troll is set in a slightly altered present day Finland, where trolls (in their European folklore roots) exist as a type of wild animal. Angel, a young photographer, rescues one from being attacked by teens and secretly takes it home to care for it. With that, he ends up set down a dramatic path that overturns his life.

It’s a fast read but a compelling one, with constantly shifting viewpoints even in the same scene, and interspersed with both real and modified excerpts from other sources on trolls – folklore, journalism, fiction. The novel has a deeper subtext about the meaning of possession and power in relationships, especially in queer relationships. Almost all the characters are gay men, and this ties skilfully into the flow and flavour of the conflict in this novel.

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