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Troll: A Love Story Paperback – February 19, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
A young Finnish photographer makes a pet of an orphaned troll in this strange, sexually charged contemporary folk tale, a hit in Europe. Mikael, nicknamed Angel for his stunning blonde good looks, finds the troll behind some dustbins after a night of drinking, and feels compelled to bring it home ("It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen... I know straight away that I want it"). The troll is small and black, thoroughly wild but also oddly human, with an overpowering, arousing juniper-berry smell. Obsessed by his new companion, whom he names Pessi, Angel sets out to learn everything he can about trolls, which in the novel's world are a real but extremely rare species. Much of the book is composed of excerpts from reference works and novels, the most valuable of which is a rare volume by Gustaf Eurén, called The Wild Beasts of Finland. This book is supplied by Ecke, Angel's nerdy, fervid suitor; Angel also coerces help from a veterinarian ex-boyfriend; an advertising art director who buys his photographs and rejects his advances; and an abused Filipino mail-order bride who lives downstairs. Sinisalo's elastic prose is at once lyrical and matter-of-fact, but this is not a comfortable novel. The troll brings out Angel's animal instincts, representing all the seduction and violence of the natural world. As the troll becomes ever more unmanageable, the sense of doom grows; the ferocious ending is thoroughly unsettling.
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Troll won the Finlandia Prize for the best novel published in Finland, and has garnered worldwide attention. Sinisalo draws upon Finnish folklore to create a sharp modern novel that explores the wild beast that lurks in each of us. The Washington Post reminds us, “[T]he runty dark creatures of our fairy tales are little more, symbolically speaking, than surrogates for our own darker urges.” Though Pessi is the only truly feral creature, Angel and his friends all reveal their baser natures as well. While the main drama surrounds Angel and Pessi, a host of engaging characters populates the novel, including a Filipino mail-order bride. Sinisalo takes the stuff of fantasies and twists it into a sophisticated parable for the 21st century.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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I am not surprised that most people miss this point. Despite being "simple" in its style, easy to read, quick-moving and absorbing. It's a book that needs to be taught, and a book that teaches readers how to read, as it can be read on many different levels.
The novel is about a photographer adopting a wild troll. In his world, trolls were discovered to be real in 1907 although encounters with them are so extremely rare that there is very little real cataloguing of habits, eating, mating, etc. Much of the book has excepts from poetry, stories, fables and well-faked scientific treatises.
The story happens in between these excepts.
The story itself is fascinating. Angel is a believable protagonist and, his gayness aside, completely sympathetic. He could be me, were I gay. If I met the troll Pessi, I'd have adopted him too.
It is quite short. I finished it in 3 days of commuting to work and I'm having some trouble getting it out of my mind. If you are looking for an odd love story, this is a good one. If you are looking for straightforward narrative or action, it may not. Sinisalo reminds me of Joyce Carol Oates in her depiction of horror in everyday life and the likability of her characters. If you are an Oates fan, you will like this very much.
Most recent customer reviews
Finnish novel... nicely translated
In a world where trolls are quite real and very forbidden....Read more