Troll: A Love Story (Johanna Sinisalo)


Johanna Sinisalo’s novel Troll: A Love Story was not what I expected. An interesting blend of magical realism and fantasy, this tale of interspecies love (I’m borrowing the term “interspecies” from Meg LeMay here) was both compelling and disturbing. Not disturbing because of the interspecies relationship, but because of some of the unresolved violence in the novel (especially the character named Palomita who lives downstairs from the protagonist, Angel).

I was thoroughly surprised to find that this story was a love story in the romantic sense; for no reason at all, I initially decided it was “a love story” in the kind of infatuation-with-the-unusual sense not uncommon to fantasy novels. However, it only took a chapter or two (and one unexpected ejaculation by the protagonist) for me to realize I’d got it quite wrong. However, this change was actually really welcome, as Sinisalo took the characters in a much more interesting direction than I’d initially thought.

I don’t have a lot to say about this book other than that it was a very interesting read (albeit for a more limited audience than some, given the widespread bias against what might be perceived as “fantasy”) and that I enjoyed it immensely even though I thought the author could have pushed certain boundaries further than she did. But overall, something to hold your interest until you’ve finished with it, at the very least.

GOOD FOR:  Anyone interested in animal studies, readers who enjoy a touch of the fantastic, and naturally curious people.

BAD FOR:  People who are scared of trolls, anyone looking for realism, and readers uninterested in imagining mythology into our reality.

GOOD WITH:  Stardust, One for the Morning Glory, and Deathless.

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