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The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

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The Core of the SunThe Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So this is “Finnish weird,” huh? I like it and I want more, especially from Johanna Sinisalo.

This book is… well, it’s a suspenseful mystery set in a horrifying and plausible dystopian now with some magical realism woven between it all.

Vanna is an addict. A chile addict. In Finland in 2016 chiles, along with other dangerous and addictive substances like alcohol and drugs, are banned. Vanna is also a “morlock”–a woman who doesn’t meet societal standards and isn’t allowed to breed–except Vanna is also an “eloi,” or at least she was raised pretending to be one. Her sister, Manna, is an eloi, the type of “femiwoman” Finland has been selectively breeding for for generations. Vanna is also Vera, and Manna is Mira, because soft elois can’t have hard Rs in their names. Rs and other special things–like independence and nearly Stepford-like wives–are saved for mascos.

This story is told with letters Vanna/Vera writes to Manna/Mira, which tells their life stories from the beginning when their parents died and they moved to Finland to live with their only relative to the end where Vanna finds out what happened to her missing sister; in excerpts from fictional (and occasionally real!) books and articles about the history of Finland, which explain the history and realities of modern Finland; and through Vanna (and occasionally her masco friend Jare’s) present-day actions from Vanna’s chile highs and confused grief to Jare’s future plans and their shared chile-dealing business with a bit of capsaicin-spirituality over and above it all.

I loved this book. I was shocked by Vanna, I pitied her, her sister, and everyone trapped as they were, I was frightened by the very plausible history of Finnish society the author created, and I was always, always entertained. Also, I really want some spicy peppers now, but Vanna can keep the core of the sun for herself.

[I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.]

View all my reviews

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Written by tldegray

January 14, 2016 at 6:55 pm

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