Punk's Reviews > Troll: A Love Story

Troll by Johanna Sinisalo
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Aug 06, 07

bookshelves: queer, in-translation, fantasy
Read in August, 2007

Urban Fantasy. Trolls have long been a part of Finnish folklore, but it wasn't until 1907 that they were officially discovered and classified as a mammal. A cross between a primate and a cat, they are secretive and impossible to catch, but lately they've been leaving the woods and venturing closer and closer to the cities.

On his way home from a date, Angel comes across a group of kids tormenting something in the shadows. It's a troll cub, weak and injured, and Angel takes it to his apartment and tries to nurse it back to health. Things progress quickly from there, the book skipping along over the narrative with a strangely light touch for such a bizarre story. Because Angel does fall in love with his troll, Pessi, and Pessi is obviously intelligent, able to unlock doors, recognize himself in a mirror, and build things with blocks, but the book seems reluctant to tell us much more. It felt very much like a fairytale in that it lacked certain kinds of details, as if we were already so familiar with the story that we could bring those parts with us.

The chapters are all very short, only a few pages each. We hear from Angel, his boss, his ex-boyfriend, the man he's sleeping with now, the mail-order bride that lives downstairs, and in between all that there are excerpts from academic journals, news reports, folktales, all on the subject of trolls. It builds a greater picture of the history between man and troll, while also hinting at their future, but it left me wanting more of the now, more of the specific relationship between Pessi and Angel, rather than the broader strokes of troll and man.

Four stars. Dark and urgent and kind of kinky, like an old fairytale.
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