Review: Not Before Sundown
The original novel was published in 2000.
Published in the US as Troll: a Love Story. Several translations to other languages.
Finlandia prize 2000, Kuvastaja prize (Best Finnish Fantasy book) 2001, The James Tiptree Jr. Award, 2004.
Mikhael, a young, gay commercial photographer, finds in the courtyard of his high-rise apartment block a small, man-like creature. It is a troll, a beast familiar to us from Scandinavian mythology where, through the ages, it has been used to frighten children. The troll is a demonic wild beast, a hybrid like the werewolf. Today it is used as a hairy, cuddly toy by Nordic children.
Mikhael gives the troll a name, Pessi, and takes him home. The first thing Mikhael does is research everything that has been written about trolls from the internet, from folklore tales, studies of nature science and various newspaper cuttings. Palomita, the Filipino woman from downstairs, helps Mikhael understand that Pessi is like a child that must be fed and nurtured.
What the reader learns is that trolls exude pheromones that smell like a Calvin Klein aftershave, and causes all the novel's characters to fall in love with one another — one-sidedly and cross-wise. Mikhael falls in love with Martes, the head of an advertising agency. Doctor Spiderman and Ecke in turn fall in love with Mikhael because of the scent. What Mikhael fails to learn, with tragic consequences, is that Pessi the troll is the interpreter of man's darkest, most forbidden feelings.
Johanna Sinisalo was born in Sodankylä, Finland, in 1958. She has studied literature and drama in the Tampere university. She has worked in the advertising and also as a writer in many Finnish tv series.
She became known in 1985, when seven of her short stories were published in genre magazines. Next year her stories were the top three in Atoroxes, a prize given to the best Finnish genre short story. She has won the prize seven times.
Her first novel was published in 2000 and it won the Finlandia prize for literature, most prestigious literary award in Finland.
Her short stories are published in The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy (Transit) and Year's Best SF (Baby Doll).
Sinisalo lives in ... (more)