Saturday, October 30, 2010

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Right One In
By John Ajvide Lindqvist
Translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg
Publisher: Quercus
Published: 2009
ISBN-13: 9781847248480
519 pages

Prologue, Page 2: In December when the police finally managed to track down the driver of the moving truck he didn't have much to tell. In his records, he had only noted '18 October: Norrköping-Blackeberg (Stockholm)'. He recalled it was a father and daughter, a pretty girl.

The story begins in Part One on 21 October 1981 and ends in Part Five on Friday 13 November. A lot happen in that slightly more than three weeks time; dark and disturbing. I am glad I read the book because it is so different from the vampire books I have devoured. Oh yes, I am quite fond of vampires and the paranormal world.

Let the Right One In is about a child vampire living in Blackeberg. But, this child is actually a 200-year-old vampire that is forever frozen in childhood. She lives in the house next door to Oskar's with a forty-five-year-old man named Håkan Bengtsson whom people mistaken as her father. Eli has a very lonely existence. There is more to Eli and you will discover the truth about this girl as you move along the story. Yes, she feeds on blood to live, but what is she before she becomes a vampire?

Eli befriends the twelve-year-old Oskar, a boy who is mercilessly bullied at school by his schoolmates and being made to do all sorts of things. The bullying gets to a very serious degree and Oskar is almost done for, if not for Eli, but you will have to read the book to find out. Oskar does not have many friends.

The story is somehow tied together by witnesses of the incidents as they happen but they have no clue. Some are unfortunate to have crossed path with Eli and Håkan, and get killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But Eli would never do anything that would hurt Oskar.

There is a mysterious air throughout the storytelling. It is macabre, grim, and violent, but also moving. I cannot help but felt pity for the characters even though they are bullies, murderers, alcoholics. They each have their story.

I really like the book. Although it is terrifying, it is also a moving story of rejection, friendship, and loyalty. I picked this title for as part of the R.I.P. V challenge that will end on October 31. I am planning to watch the movie too.

I also read a great article titled Sweden's Bleeding written by Stephanie Bunbury for The Age about the author who grew up in Blackeberg and his work. Let the Right One In is also discussed in it.

Like Oskar, he [the author] was bullied at school. The streets he describes are still vividly mapped in his mind. He even found, when a journalist asked him to return to Blackeberg to do an interview, that the coterie of drunks he had described in the book was still there.

Related Post: Some Initial Ramblings About R.I.P. V