Let the Right One In – A Review

A treat for all  fans of the Gothic genre

It is the 1980s, Oskar a twelve-year-old boy is constantly bullied in school. Going to school and being cornered in the toilet is his  biggest fear. There is no escape and the only way he seeks solace is by fantasizing a bloody revenge.
Eli a primitive person in child’s body, dirty, emaciated, hungry and lonely. Eli and Oskar are two painfully lonely people and when they meet, a beautiful friendship is born. A friendship   tested through tears, toil and blood. A friendship that comes shining through while the rest of the world around them falls apart…

Set in one of those inevitably freezing winters of suburban Stockholm, Let The Right One In brings an unsettling tale about misfits. Oskar is a misfit with  a bladder problem, because of which he turns into a loner, shying away from everybody around him, even his mother. His solitary disposition provoke the bullies in his class to torture and torment him each day. He is skeptical when a thinly clad Eli approaches him one evening, but soon Eli’s mysterious presence in a not-so-happening suburban settlement which coincides with people disappearing, invokes a sense of curiosity in Oskar.  There is of course more to Eli than meets the eye and as her friendship with Oskar escalates, they both discover each other through both welcoming and unsettling incidences. Lindqvist is a master story teller of gore and horror who leaves no stone unturned to paint the truest and most convincing picture leaving us wanting for more.

This was one gripping book I have read in ages. I just had to keep on reading once I started. Since Dracula, I haven’t come across another book of the Gothic genre that unfolds itself with such an eloquent poetic touch. Each and every character in the book is a round one with more than just three dimensions.
It’s about the weak, the helpless with strong overtones of perhaps an unearthly intervention ;)

Fantastic book for all those who love to delve into modern Gothic fiction and at the same time the style calls for a recommendation to all book lovers out there. One feels a genuine empathy for this little “thing” around whom the story revolves. The narration is powerful with vivid descriptions of the ugly. One can actually taste the repugnant, the repulsive nature in which a human body undergoes a metamorphosis. Grotesque would be an understatement here, but at the same time it is about finding beauty and love in the art of the grotesque. I really look forward to reading more fiction from Lindqvist. One cannot help envying him for having such an illusive vision.

The English translation is available under the name Let Me In


About the Author

John Ajvide Lindqvist (born 1968 in Blackeberg, Sweden) is a Swedish novelist and short stories author.

Lindqvist grew up in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg, and his debut novel Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In), a romantic, social realistic vampire horror story published in 2004, enjoyed great success in Sweden and abroad. Hanteringen av odöda (Handling the Undead) was published in 2005 and involved the rising of zombies, or the “re-living”, in the Stockholm area. In 2006, he released his third book Pappersväggar, a collection of horror short stories. In 2007, his story Tindalos was published as a serial in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, and also published as a free audiobook through the newspaper’s website, read by the author himself. His works are published by Ordfront and have been translated into many languages, including English, German, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Dutch and Russian.

Before becoming a published writer, Lindqvist worked for twelve years as a magician and stand-up comedian. As a teenager, Lindqvist used to perform street magic for the tourists walking on Västerlånggatan in Stockholm.

Besides fiction he has also written the screenplay for Sveriges Television’s drama series Kommissionen, a large part of the material to the television series Reuter & Skoog, as well as the screenplay for the film based on Let the Right One in. The production company Tre Vänner has bought the rights to Hanteringen av odöda and are planning to make a film.

Lindqvist is a devoted Morrissey fan. In interviews he has stated that his debut novel’s Swedish name got its name from the Morrissey song “Let the Right One Slip In”. Furthermore, he has stated that his first thoughts when told that “Let the Right One In” was to be translated into English was that he enjoyed the thought of Morrissey being able to read the book whose name was borrowed from his song.

The Swedish film version of the book was stark, dark and frightening. However, characters and extensive scenes were left out. The film mostly centered around Oskar and Eli which at times gave the film a hollow, empty approach. It was compelling nevertheless. The actors who played Oskar and Eli were entirely convincing and natural. The pedophiliac character of Hakan was depicted discreetly yet watching him was really unsettling as is his character in the book. The suburban backdrop of suburban Stockholm from the 80′s was true to the book and the Rubik’s cube for instance reminded me of my growing years.

The Hollywood version called Let Me In was released in October. I haven’t had the chance to see it but the promos looked promising and more typical of a Hollywood horror. I just hope that the makers do justice to the book which is one of the most fantastic book I have read so far.

Images: http://www.horrorstew.com/Let-Me-In.html


www.deviantart.com by juarezricci

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Yoshay Lama

I welcome you warmly to my blog. This is the resting place of most of my creative work. This blog consists of book reviews, articles, poems, mere reflections and excerpts from my stories.

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