Deep in an Estonian forest, two women - one young, one old - are hiding. Zara is a prostitute and a murderer, on the run from brutal captors, men who know about inflicting punishment. Aliide offers refuge, but not safety: She has her own secrets, traitorous crimes of passion and revenge committed long ago, during the country’s brutal Soviet years. Both women have suffered lives of abuse. But this time their survival depends on revealing the one thing history has taught them to keep safely hidden: the truth.
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.
"Very Strange, but Great To Listen To!"
It's 1941. In Communist-ruled, war-ravaged Estonia, two men are fleeing from the Red Army--Roland, a fiercely principled freedom fighter, and his slippery cousin, Edgar. When the Germans arrive, Roland goes into hiding; Edgar abandons his unhappy wife, Juudit, and takes on a new identity as a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime. In 1963 Estonia is again under Communist control, independence even further out of reach behind the Iron Curtain.
Helsinki is battling ruthless climate catastrophe. Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still willing to live in the city. When Tapani’s wife, Johanna, a journalist, goes missing, he embarks on a frantic hunt for her. Johanna’s disappearance seems to be connected to a story she was researching about a serial killer known as "The Healer". Determined to find Johanna, Tapani’s search leads him to uncover secrets from her past - secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating.