The Core of the SunJohanna Sinisalo Lola Rogers
3 August 2017
Published by Grove Press
1 December 2016
Published by Grove Press
The Eusistocratic Republic of Finland has bred a new human sub-species of receptive, submissive women, called eloi, for sex and procreation, while intelligent, independent women are relegated to menial labour and sterilized. Vanna, raised as an eloi but secretly intelligent, needs money to help her doll-like sister, Manna.
Vanna forms a friendship with a man named Jare, and they become involved in buying and selling a stimulant known to the Health Authority to be extremely dangerous: chilli peppers. Then Manna disappears, and Jare comes across a strange religious cult in possession of the Core of the Sun, a chilli so hot that it is rumoured to cause hallucinations.
Does this chilli have effects that justify its prohibition? How did Finland turn into the North Korea of Europe? And will Vanna succeed in her quest to find her sister, or will her growing need to satisfy her chilli addiction destroy her?
Johanna Sinisalo’s tautly told story of fight and flight is also a feisty, between-the-lines social polemic – a witty, inventive, and fiendishly engaging read from the queen of ‘Finnish Weird’.
The Core of the Sun has been compared to Atwood and Vonnegut, but Sinisalo's disturbing and often whimsical vision is uniquely her own.
Margaret Atwood and Aldous Huxley get down with Carlos Castaneda in The Core of The Sun, an adventurous and original dystopian satire which isn't likely to be forgotten in a hurry... It's dark, biting, unlike anything you'll read this year and, ultimately, a triumph.
Meticulously imagined . . . the novel creates an impressively detailed and extremely frightening world. Written with wit and grace . . . Maintains an impressive grasp on plot and suspense, easily luring the reader into taking its characters, politics, and striking story to heart.
[Sinisalo] ups the ante with well-paced and eerily fitting facts about the history of science, clever literary narrative, and complex characterization. This tale will appeal to dystopia lovers and fans of darkly offbeat suspense.
A chilling tale reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale... a fascinating story centered on gender politics.
As a mirror held slantwise to patriarchal violence, it is often convincing, and rarely without also being clever and comical. Likewise, as a repudiation of the egalitarian gloriousness of the 'Nordic model,' it's a thing we rarely behold in America: a feminist novel that propels you forward to its terrifying, pulpy conclusion.
There's a streak of scathing satire to the book's fragmentary science fiction, and in that sense it sits somewhere between Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut - but Sinisalo crafts a funny, unsettling, emotionally charged apparition of the present that's all her own.
An intoxicating book, sizzling to look at and as spicy as a hot pepper.