I have a confession to make to you all. I am struggling with finding gay books that hold my attention these days. Research enough gay books, and they all start to sound alike after a while. When I talked about this with my book-loving friend Gina, she suggested this month’s selection. “It’s like nothing you’ve read before!” were her words. She was right. I feel I must preface this month’s selection with a statement: it is strange – Enjoyable, but strange.
Troll: A Love Story is not what you think. It is about an ACTUAL troll. A knock, knock under the bridge troll – not something else of which you might be thinking. In this book, trolls exist in nature but are extremely rare and hardly ever seen. The story takes place in Finland and a young Finnish photographer named Angel is the main character. It starts when the thirtysomething, extremely attractive Angel is coming home from a night of drinking. He finds a small creature that is obviously hurt and decides to take it home to see if he can help. He figures out that it is a troll and begins research. The research leads to somewhat of an obsession and before you know it, Angel has named his troll – Pessi. Pessi is cute, loveable and emits a strange juniper berry pheromone, which as the story progresses, brings out certain basic and sexual needs in Angel and the others exposed to it. Angel starts to use an old veterinarian boyfriend just for information, and then begins a torrid affair with a geeky suitor partly for information from his library and partly because he can’t help the pull of all the pheromones he is subjected to from Pessi. Angel knows that he shouldn’t be keeping this animal as a pet.
What makes the story so believable is that Angel is an ordinary gay man. I could see myself finding some hurt creature and then bringing it back home to nurse it back to health. Angel’s intentions are noble and Pessi is likeable if you are on the right end of his instincts.
Troll is a story about the most primal and basic instincts of man and animal. The lines between the two are very thin when it comes right down to it. The story shows how our basic animal needs are right on the surface and ready to come out given the slightest nudge. There is a deep, dark creature inside of all of us who is out for self-satisfaction and self-preservation.
I found the book extremely fascinating and a very quick read. It is certainly not like anything I have read before. As with most stories about basic human instincts and their outcomes, this book has some disturbing moments. All and all, I found it extremely interesting and thought provoking and yes – somewhat erotic. Before you think that I have lost my mind – read it. I think you’ll understand then.