Troll: A Love Story - Herbert Lomas, Johanna Sinisalo

Why did I read it? It came up a few times on recommended lists and a book which featured a troll by a Finnish writer seemed like an interesting read, even when the synopsis hinted at sexual themes.

 

What's it about? Mikael is returning from a gay club one evening and intercepts a gang intent on beating a cornered animal. Upon seeing the victim, it becomes clear to Mikael it is a young troll and, intoxicated by liquor and the beauty of the troll itself, he takes it home with him. Mikael attempts to restore the troll to health by reading all sorts of materials, but never seems aware of the intoxicating pheromones the troll exudes, and which come to mingle with his own scent.

 

What did I like? It's a different kind of fantasy I suppose. The chapters were short, making it a quick read and, once again, the ending isn't neatly tied up. I was a little interested in the fate of the troll, and some of the snippets of information inserted between chapters were intriguing.The portrayal of the futility of attempting to tame an animal which thrives in the wild was quite well done. The story also highlights the increasing urbanisation of previously wild environments which is forcing many an animal/creature to adapt and survive on our terms, and how much mankind/humans are adverse to this encroachment by "wild things" on what they consider their turf.

 

What didn't I like? "Not Before Sundown" as it's also known, just didn't grab me. I stopped caring about Mikael, or what fate awaited him fairly early in the story, when his tiresome selfish/self-centered personality was revealed. Eventually, the factual accounts, snippets of folklore and various bits of information regarding trolls which was inserted between chapters also became tedious. Thus, the book dragged itself, limping, to it's conclusion[?].

 

Certain sexual aspects of Mikael's behaviour were also very off-putting; more particularly, his feelings towards Pessi, the troll.

 

Would I recommend it? I can't say I would, mostly because I cannot think of anyone who should enjoy reading it; certainly no-one of my acquaintance.