Stallo introduced us to the stallo tribe – giant trolls a bit too keen on human children, and to Susso Myrén, a warm and funny down-to-earth anti hero, who inherited her grandfather’s belief in trolls. Along with her ex-boyfriend and her mother, Susso sets off on a troll hunt and wild road trip across Sweden. Susso’s fearlessness leads to the dissolution of a horrific cult that helped the trolls abduct children, and in the capture and prosecution of the cult’s leader, Lennart Brösth.
Now, the much-anticipated follow-up is here. Stalpi is one of Sami language’s many words for wolf – and also the name of the mysterious grey presence that emerges at night and wreaks destruction in reindeer herds. With Stalpi, author Stefan Spjut returns to the Myrén family souvenir shop in Kiruna, in a story that revolves around this lurking, terrifying creature.
Ten years have passed. An unusually large wolf that has been sighted on the wrong side of the Swedish border has been caught by a team of forest rangers and is being transported back to Finland. But the transport never arrives, and things do not end well for the men who have come into contact with the wolf.
Susso has shut down her crypto-zoological website and moved to an isolated house several miles from Kiruna with a creepy squirrel as only company. Susso’s mother Gudrun hates the vile creature, which won’t let Susso out of sight, but Susso claims it is protecting her. Against what? wonders Gudrun as she sits in her little souvenir shop miles away. She has a bad feeling and in order to calm her nerves she asks Diana, once her daughter’s best friend, to visit Susso and find out how she’s doing. Simultaneously, the child abductor Lennart Brösth escapes from the psychiatric ward where he is being held. Gudrun doesn’t believe he has forgotten who was responsible for destroying his cult. “People who believe in trolls are just weird”, says Gudrun. “The poor soul who knows they exist is damned.”
Inhabiting Stallo’s mythological universe, Stalpi develops into a nerve-racking second installment of the far-north folkloric tale about Susso Myrén and the curse that haunts her family.
A skilled stylist, Stefan Spjut blurs the borders of reality and has an uncanny ability of making the reader believe the unbelievable. His craft is reminiscent of horror master John Ajvide Lindqvist as well as Selma Lagerlöf’s eerie legends.
“The poetic language is well-maintained by the translator, [while] the realistic representations of trolls and other fantastical creatures and the beautiful depictions of nature ensure that Stalpi is much more than an adventurous horror novel.”
“The author writes intensely and rivetingly about mice with telepathic powers, about small, geriatric zombies with tails, about Ransu, the wolf that can transform into a human. And about people whom, under the psychological influence of the trolls, carry out indefensible acts. It is a spell, an obsession, a drive – and a powerful portrayal of endless forests and wild nature. It is a violent and entertaining adventure for adults, and – rationally or not – it evokes Carsten Høgh’s description of trolls in Adventure Lexicon: «In deep psychological terms, trolls can be interpreted as an untamed, brutal side of our own human urges, or as a complex-filled aspect of the subconscious, which the conscious self must integrate and liberate itself from.»”
“Spjut takes elements of Sami superstition and folklore and works them into a realistic suspense novel that implores the reader to believe that trolls and other creatures exist in the Nordic forests.”
”Stalpi: As If Stephen King Was Perched On Kerstin Ekmans’s Shoulder”.
Imagine that Stephen King has taken the guise of a forest mouse, perched on Kerstin Ekman’s shoulder and guiding her fingers across the keyboard, and you get a sense of the hybrid literature that is Stefan Spjut’s. The core, however, is suspense, and I indeed lie awake late into the night, unable to stop reading.
”Stefan Spjut See To Nightmarish Wolves”.
I devoured Stefan Spjut’s previous horror novel Stallo (2012) in that avid way that I thought belonged to a bygone era[…]. Now Stefan Spjut is back.
Thematically and dramaturgically both Stallo and Stalpi are reminiscent of the more established John Ajvide Lindqvist’s books – particularly his short stories. Like Spjut, Lindqvist’s supernatural horror is delivered with a coating of social realism. But Spjut’s slightly archaic prose, a kind of northern magical realism, has a completely unique tone which creates meaningful layers in the story. Spjut’s ability to convey supernatural terror with the same visual acuity as he describes the moldy interior of a decrepit trailer home, generates a marvelous truthfulness. […] Stalpi is … hard to put down. I’m already longing for the next installment.
”Stefan Spjut: Stalpi”.
I have been longing to immerse myself in Stefan Spjut’s world again. […].
Just like in Stallo, this story is intersected by numerous journeys, and all roads seem to lead north. Once again, there is an element of pursuit, like an action-packed road-movie across the landscape. The vast distances reinforce the sense of isolation, and the persistent slogs provide a sense of psychological thriller. […] but it is rather the horror elements that make this captivating novel so worthwhile. Beings and creatures from Sami folklore become uncannily tangible in Spjut’s depiction. Without being too lame, the story leaves just enough to the imagination, and the realistic, familiar settings make it all the more real. Indeed, it almost becomes … credible.
“Stallo by Stefan Spjut is a fantastic novel in every sense of the word. I was enthralled from the very first page, not only because the story is intensely riveting and constantly surprising, not only because Spjut has managed to master how to write convincingly about the existence of trolls and goblins in the Nordic forests, but also because he writes in a language that captures the everyday life we otherwise know inside and out, so precise and well-written that it illuminates the pages.”
Czech rights sold to Host.
Finnish rights sold to Like.
French rights sold to Actes Sud
Norwegian rights sold to Oktober
Word English rights sold to Faber&Faber.
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