47. TROLL, BY JOHANNA SINISALO
Recommended by Tytti, on Goodreads. Unfortunately, I think the translation was very bad... The grammar and spelling were right, but all through the book the choice of words was a bit awkward. Not incorrect, exactly, just really not something that you would see normally.
Synopsis: Mikael, a gay photographer, is going home one day when he finds a troll cub in the street. Taken by an impulse he can’t quite understand, he decides to bring the cub to his home and keep it. Eventually, living with the troll proves to have unforeseen consequences.
Overall enjoyment: I quite liked it. I’d be lying if I said that the bad translation didn’t get in the way of my full enjoyment, and probably my lack of background on Finn culture made me miss many references, but it was very good and innovative.
Plot: Not really what you’d expect from “a love story”, as it says on the subtitle. (And I don’t know if it was a mistranslation or intentional, but this definitely isn’t a love story.) It flows nicely, with good pace and suspense. The POV changes wildly among many characters, sometimes with only one phrase by one character and then changing to another; there are also some snippets of texts that aren’t part of the narrative but that provide background.
Characters: Nicely built and characterized. Even with the weird translation, the narrative voice changes noticeably with the POV.
World/setting: A kind of fictional Finland where trolls really exist (and have been biologically classified). That’s the only difference from actual Finland, as far as I can tell. If there are other differences, they don’t matter much to the story.
Writing style: Difficult to judge, considering the translation.
Representation: Most of the characters are gay men. There is only one woman (who, as far as I can tell, is straight), but she’s very incidental and secondary.
Political correctness: Like I said before, this is definitely not a love story. It’s a lust story, or maybe domination story. The relationships between the characters are very unhealthy; however, she doesn’t try to pretend they are good relationships people should aspire to have.
Up next: We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson