One Saturday morning last December whilst having a wander around a second hand book store I came across a rather bulky book with a strange title. Three things interested me.
1) What is Stallo?
2) Who was Stefan Spjut?
3) And the books tag line was ‘What if something is out there?’
Looking at the back cover I found out that Stefan Spjut once worked as a literary critic and culture editor and Stallo was his second novel. I think Mr Spjut maybe Swedish too. Like many Scandinavian books Stallo has been translated into English.
To Stallo. They are mythical giant human like creatures that are popular in Sami folklore. The Sami people (also Sámi or Saami), are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The story of Stallo by Mr Spjut takes place in Sweden.
The story of Stallo revolves around two boys that disappear around 25 years apart. The belief being that they were taken by Trolls. Yes, that’s right. Trolls. I didn’t think I could take a story seriously that was about Trolls. But I was wrong. After a ten or so pages I was hooked.
The other main character is Susso. All I can compare her to is Katniss Evergreen. She’s very likeable but at times can be annoying. Her background is that she believes in mythical beings and has a website that reports sightings of such things. Her interest and belief comes from her Grandfather who was a photographer. He took a photo of what seemed to be a small person(Troll) riding a bear. Susso is brought into the story because a woman is convinced a peculiar small man(Troll) is stalking her house. Things notch up a gear when the woman’s grandson is kidnapped. The Troll is the main suspect.
That’s were I shall leave it. Overall I found the book very engaging and enjoyable. It’s superbly written and the dialogue is clean and polished. I’m a fanatic when it comes to dialogue and this translation pleased me greatly. What let the book down was the last 10%. It was slightly rushed and I wasn’t happy with ending. But that’s my opinion. The main thing is that the other 90% was pretty impressive.
Please get hold of this book if you can and give it a go.
I give STALLO by Stefan Spjut a solid 8/10