I don’t remember now how I learned about The Core of the Sun, but I am so glad I did, and so glad my public librarians are astute and consistently have almost every book I want to read. Johanna Sinisalo is Finnish, so that is unusual to have the opportunity to read books by Finnish authors. But, WOW, this book is so original and odd and the dystopia envisioned is akin to what all the critics are saying when they compare it to The Handmaid’s Tale, one of my favorite books ever.
On Goodreads, after reading some of the reviews, I wrote:
Michael’s description was well done, but did include an error: it is Vanna, the morlock lead character who becomes addicted to chilies. Manna is the sister she is looking for. And it must have been important to the author to also head the chapters with Vanna/Vera because it represents how they even took her original name away from her, just because they could or as a deliberate psychological ploy. The comment is made a bit later about not allowing women to have r in their names, but it was not explored or explained further, beyond her later meeting a morlock woman with an r in her name. But she just leaves it there, without attributing any significance to it. So I was kind of waiting for that to be a foreshadowing of a twist of some sort, or some further exploration on gendered names, but none was developed. It is a slim book, and probably would be too digressive from the narrative if she didn’t have a consistent basis for it in her world-building.