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Harbor Hardcover – October 11, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; Reprint edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312680279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312680275
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Like Stephen King, Lindqvist makes deft use of contemporary pop culture.... Like King, Lindqvist is a master at evoking the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small, self-contained community whose denizens are as cursed by their own history as by the uncanny, terrifying events of the present."
--The Washington Post
"John Ajvide Lindqvist is rightly seen as one of the most exciting writers working in the horror genre at the moment – a rival, indeed, to Stephen King."
--The Scotsman
"A spooky pleasure, expertly told."
--Kirkus Reviews
"Enthralling dark fantasy."
--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

JOHN AJVIDE LINDQVIST is the author of Handling the Undead and international sensation Let the Right One In, which has been made into critically acclaimed films in both Sweden and the United States (as Let Me In). The Swedish film based on the book, for which Lindqvist wrote the screenplay, won top honors at the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as at film festivals around the globe. Of the American film, Stephen King commented, "Let Me In is a genre-busting triumph. Not just a horror film, but the best American horror film in the last twenty years...Rush to it now. You can thank me later."

Lindqvist became an author after careers as a magician and as a stand-up comic. He has also written for television. His books are published in twenty-nine countries; he lives in Sweden.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

His imagination is a beautiful thing.
Erin Cole
Maybe if I would have read the first half of the book in one sitting, I would have gotten it a bit more.
In the end, I was much more interested in the mystery itself as well as Simon and Anna-Greta's story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Bowman on September 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up "Harbor." I didn't enjoy "Let the Right One In," but I liked the premise here. To me, it sounded like a cross between the first half of "Shutter Island" and Stephen King's "Storm of the Century." (It wasn't, not really.) So I started...

And finished about twelve hours later.

"Harbor" is a highly atmospheric, original horror novel that has done something remarkable: even after you realize what the monster, the terror of the novel, is (this occurs about halfway through) I didn't think, "oh, that's what it is" or "oh, that's ridiculous" or "oh, the mystery's out, why am I still reading?"

That delightful anxiety produced by good horror ratcheted up another notch or two, and I thought, "What on earth are they supposed to do NOW?!?!"

Exactly what they do carries beautifully through the rest of the book. Not once did I feel bored, or let down by the object of horror here. Don't get me wrong, it had the potential to be so incredibly, ridiculously stupid. But Lindqvist turned it, "Night of the Living Dead" style, into a "no matter what they do, they're dead."

Another testament to Lindqvist's talent: he makes a major, god-in-the-machine plot line involving what is essentially a magic slug work. And not just work, but work amazingly. I still don't see how this works. It shouldn't be interesting. It should ruin the book, or at least be a line we impatiently skim over. But no. It's every bit as good as the rest of the book.

In a nutshell, the story itself is fabulous. The translation is excellent. I'm going to use the word "atmospheric" yet again. A pervasive sense of dread begins on the second page and doesn't let up once. "Harbor" builds slowly but steadily, til you're fidgeting with anxiety.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Earth and its creatures consist mostly of water. When water gets its evil on, it is a formidable and dangerous element. Even without a supernatural infestation, oceans (particularly at night) are frightening to behold. In Harbor, John Ajvide Lindqvist imagines the waters of the ocean as a diabolical force.

In 2004, a little girl named Maja disappears while visiting a lighthouse with her parents, Anders and Cecelia. Her disappearance on the small, isolated island of Domarö is impossible to explain. When Anders returns to the island a couple of years later, a series of eerie events suggest that Maja is trying to contact him. Anders later learns that Maja is not the first island resident to have disappeared, and that the island harbors secrets from generations past.

Anders is one primary character; another is Simon, an aging magician and escape artist who has lived on Domarö for years. In 1996, Simon pledges himself to a Spiritus, a dark little creature that resembles a centipede. When Simon drools on the Spiritus, he gains some of its life force; holding the Spiritus in his hand empowers Simon. Despite Simon's connection to the island, its life-long residents have kept a secret from him: the secret of the sea. It is the secret that animates the novel and that Anders must eventually understand if he is to make sense of Maja's disappearance.

As the plot develops, John Ajvide Lindqvist surrounds his characters with menacing images: a cardboard cutout of an ice cream man seems vaguely sinister; the wind-swept sea conveys a feeling of dread; the distant growl of a moped signals danger. Even swans are best avoided on Domarö. This is artful storytelling.

Unfortunately the images of horror are more interesting than the actual horror.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Literary Omnivore on May 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
A man whose life came apart years ago returns to the small island that is still, despite everything, his home. Don't let the deceptively mild and peaceful setting of this book fool you. This is a scary book, very much so. The genius of this author is that he lulls you so much that the scary parts are unexpected and even more frightening than they otherwise would have been. The author was raising the hair on the back of my neck at least once per chapter, and in such a way that I just couldn't get hold of what was going on. Often I found myself wondering, how could that have felt so scary? Yet, it was scary!

This is a long book and is not for those who cannot be patient. The author slowly pulls the reader into the book through the lives of many different characters on a small Swedish island. We are told of how they met, who they married, their memories of their own lives and of other people in their lives. These stories were interesting enough that I would have kept reading for them alone but once in a while, when we least see it coming, the author gives us a glimpse of something lurking behind all these people and their lives, something dark and eerie and incomprehensible.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I gave it four stars rather than five only because I felt that the author unfortunately brought in a few too many characters, some of whom didn't work for me and who caused a break in the creepy atmosphere of dread that the author had so carefully built up. I wish that he had edited out pages 174-243, in particular; those teenaged memories of the 1980's and the characters introduced there seemed quite irrelevant. Aside from that I think that the author did a fine job. If you like horror from an author who makes you think a little while he scares you, try this. Yes, it's slow but then so is being suffocated by a boa constrictor. Wouldn't that scare you?
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