The Core of the Sun: Book summary and reviews of The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

The Core of the Sun

by Johanna Sinisalo

The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo X
The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

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.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Smooth writing and nicely calibrated pacing ...[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." - Booklist

"Starred Review. 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." - Kirkus

"[T]his is an unusual and fun story with a strong dose of social commentary. " - Publishers Weekly

"The plot points on reproduction will inevitably bring Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale to mind, but the narrator's funny, sad, punk voice could fit right in to the stories in Kelly Link's Get in Trouble and is as unforgettable." - Library Journal

"Johanna Sinisalo's best novel since the Finlandia Prize-winning Troll: A Love Story ... Her literary punch in the guts is delivered with skill and force." - Helsingin Sanomat (Finland)

"By making them into state laws, Sinisalo unveils the rules by which discrimination functions - and in doing so, makes them laughable." - Die Welt (Germany)

"An intoxicating book, sizzling to look at and as spicy as a hot pepper." - Weltexpress (Germany)

"Sinisalo creates a world so close, and yet so far, with small, often subtle twists .... [The Core of the Sun] is a fun, feminist, political novel - as tasty as a strawberry habanero chili sauce." - Deutschlandradio Kultur (Germany)

"Johanna Sinisalo's Core of the Sun is a vicious satire. A dark dystopian novel that is nonetheless filled with humor, and inspired in its language." - Die Rheinpfalz (Germany)

The information about The Core of the Sun shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Johanna Sinisalo

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.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more fantasy, sci-fi, speculative, alt. history...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Becoming
    Becoming
    by Michelle Obama
    Voted 2019 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    BookBrowse hosted a Book Club ...
  • Book Jacket: Butterfly Yellow
    Butterfly Yellow
    by Thanhha Lai, Daniel Suarez
    Voted 2019 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    As readers, many of us hope ...
  • Book Jacket: Olive, Again
    Olive, Again
    by Elizabeth Strout
    Voted 2019 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    It's been a big year for literary ...
  • Book Jacket: Solitary
    Solitary
    by Albert Woodfox
    Voted 2019 Best Debut Author Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    According to statistics from ...

Book Club
Book Jacket
Evening in Paradise
by Lucia Berlin

"Berlin's new book is a marvel, filled with deeply touching stories about lives on the fringes."—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Ordinary Girls
    by Jaquira Díaz

    Reminiscent of Tara Westover's Educate and Roxane Gay's Hunger--a memoir that reads as electrically as a novel.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Butterfly Yellow

BUTTERFLY YELLOW

Winner of the BookBrowse Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and the overall highest rated book of the year!

Enter

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.