Arriving festooned with encomiums from the likes of such literary luminaries as Robert Olen Butler, The Core of the Sun is a remarkable Scandinavian contribution to the field of the dystopian novel, its chilling message tempered by some smart satire. The narrative is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in describing a surreal Finnish society in which women are either breeder or outcasts. And in this dark milieu, one woman is searching for her missing sister.

As a Finnish contribution to the much-visited speculative genre, Johanna Sinisalo’s novel has a very individual quality — all the feminist tropes are in place (e.g. intelligent women are sterilised; the male sex is generally malign), but Sinisalo reads nothing like Atwood and her contemporaries, with for instance, chili addiction (!) a component of its quirky narrative. What’s more, Lola Rogers’ translation is an exemplary complement to Sinisalo’s vision.

The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo (translated by Lola Rogers) is published by Black Cat

 

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