TROLL: A Love Story

Johanna Sinisalo, Author, Herbert Lomas, Translator , trans. from the Finnish by Herbert Lomas. Grove $12 (278p) ISBN 978-0-8021-4129-3

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. Agent, Peter Owen. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-2311-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5226-6008-8
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-55584-737-1
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