The Core of the Sun (Paperback)

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The Core of the Sun Cover Image
By Johanna Sinisalo, Lola Rogers (Translator)
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Staff Reviews

"A dystopian tale from the “queen of Finnish weird”, Johanna Sinisalo, The Core of the Sun is set in a patriarchal world where women are bred for sex and procreation. Intelligent, independent women are shunned, sterilized, and relegated to menial labor. Vanna and her sister Manna, are complete opposites. While Manna is an eloi, the sub-human species bred to reproduce, Vanna is a morlock, an intelligent woman who must pretend to be an eloi like her sister in order to survive. Vanna befriends the handyman, Jare, at her grandmother’s estate in order to access books and knowledge. When Manna marries and disappears, Vanna and Jare need to work together to uncover the secrets of Manna’s life and death. Together they infiltrate the chili pepper drug trade in order to finance their venture, ultimately uncovering a strange religious cult that possesses the highly addictive chili pepper, the Core of the Sun."

--Wickedly engaging, The Core of the Sun is a social commentary reminiscent of The Stepford Wives and The Handmaid’s Tale.

More recommendations from Susan

— Susan


From the author of the Finlandia Award-winning novel Troll: A Love Story, The Core of the Sun further cements Johanna Sinisalo's reputation as a master of literary speculative fiction and of her country's unique take on it, dubbed "Finnish weird." Set in an alternative historical present, in a "eusistocracy"--an extreme welfare state--that holds public health and social stability above all else, it follows a young woman whose growing addiction to illegal chili peppers leads her on an adventure into a world where love, sex, and free will are all controlled by the state.

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 labor and sterilized so that they do not carry on their defective line. Vanna, raised as an eloi but secretly intelligent, needs money to help her doll-like sister, who has disappeared. 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: chili peppers. Then Jare comes across a strange religious cult in possession of the Core of the Sun, a chili so hot that it is rumored to cause hallucinations. Does this chili 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 chili 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.

About the Author

Johanna Sinisalo is the author of the novels Troll: A Love Story, Birdbrain, and The Blood of Angels. Praised by readers and critics alike, she has won several literary prizes, among them the Finlandia Prize and the James Triptree, Jr. Award. Her works have been translated into nineteen languages. She lives in Finland.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802124647
ISBN-10: 080212464X
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
Pages: 304
Language: English