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Let Me In Hardcover – October 16, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312355289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312355289
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (437 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Swedish author Lindqvist's debut, a horror novel, offers few twists that won't already be familiar to readers of modern vampire fiction. Oskar, a much bullied 12-year-old schoolboy living in a Stockholm suburb, notices that his next-door neighbor, Eli, has some peculiar traits: Eli only comes out at night, smells like death warmed over and is of ambiguous gender. Eventually, Eli reveals he's a vampire who survives by feeding off the neighborhood lowlifes. Occasionally, his bite accidentally turns victims into undeads who, unaware of their vampirization, go on rampages that end in spectacularly gruesome fates. As sweet as the pure and wholesome friendship between Oskar and Eli may be, it's the gory set pieces that propel the predictable plot. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Swedish TV and stage writer Lindqvist's first novel is set in a commonplace suburb of Stockholm, where 12-year-old Oskar lives with his mother, is bullied at school, shoplifts, and keeps a scrapbook of notes and clippings about gruesome murders. Eli, apparently about his age, moves in next door but doesn't go to school, leaving the flat only at night. Shortly after, the killings start. At first more fascinated than sorry, since one victim had bullied him, Oskar eventually discovers that Eli is a vampire, stuck permanently in childhood. What should Oskar do, especially when Eli is his friend as much as anyone is? Lindqvist develops the plot in rich detail. The characters, adult and child, are quite convincingly the sort that one would probably cross the street to avoid in any city. Lindqvist also realistically depicts the aftermath of brutal homicide on the nearby: shock and horror, some sleepless nights and bad dreams, despite which you must go to work and get the groceries; eventually, the police leave the neighborhood. Murray, Frieda

Customer Reviews

His characters make sense.
Mark
So needless to say, when I heard that John Ajvide Lindqvist's "Let the Right One In" is a *Swedish* vampire novel, I knew I had to read it.
E. L. Fay
I have seen the American movie version of this book, and I liked the book more.
Julia Monson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

204 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Dr. W. L. Lyon on March 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindovist. has one fantastic element: vampires. It's set in a suburb of Stockholm, on a social housing development that has become a sink estate. It's a sad place, full of aimless people. The people with responsibility - teachers, policemen, parents, are, for the most part, trying to do the right thing. They've got good intentions.

The book has a huge cast of characters with the major division between adults and children, each subdivided into the successful, more or less, and the failures, with a further division into victims and victimizers. The book opens with a bullied child, Oskar, who fantasizes about becoming a mass murderer. He meets Elli, a child vampire. The predictable does not happen.

Many of the adults on the estate are as powerless as the children - lonely, middle aged and elderly alcoholics, unemployed or working at minimum wage jobs. They are presented with a moral choice similar to that of the children: even if a victim, one can refuse to victimize others. (And that is the major freedom the characters in the book have.)

An earlier reviewer said he/she wasn't sure if this was belonged in horror... it's horror in the same way that Henry James' ghost stories fit the genre. It's mainstream/literary/horror, a book that crosses boundaries. I think genres are more useful for finding a kind of reading than describing a book - essentially, this is a very good book that people who read horror and people who would never consider reading horror would both like. It doesn't rank highly on the 'feel good factor' but it has a surprisingly happy ending -- one of those 'happy endings' that is about as happy as, all things considered, an ending can be.

I loved it - and think it's one of the best books I've read in the past year or so.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let Me In (aka Let The Right One In, depending on the edition) is absolutely one of the best novels of its kind that I've read in years. To attempt to categorize it as simply a horror novel or a vampire novel is not to give it its full due. The most apt comparison I can make is that it's something of a cross between Stephen King at his very best and, oddly enough, Henry Thoreau in that its characters all seem driven by "lives of quiet desperation".

For those of you who are wanting to read the novel after having seen the film version, there are a few differences from the film. It won't hurt to tell you that in the novel, Eli's guardian does not die at the hospital, and that there is another plotline involving other characters that was left out of the film entirely (it became irrelevant after the guardian's plotline was changed). But that said, you will not be disappointed. Everything that made the film what it was is in the novel and then some, with edges far sharper than in the film. The novel takes you in much deeper into the lives of the characters, where things are rarely black and white and even the most seemingly unsympathetic of them become at least somewhat sympathetic when seen from the inside.

While there are many characters and a number of plotlines going on, at the heart of the story are Oskar and Eli. Oskar is twelve, bullied, a lonely passive victim who fantasizes about revenge. You can see the seeds growing in him, see a future scenario of the sort you read about in the papers where the victim becomes the victimizer in a bloody act of unfocused rage. Eli is also twelve... sort of. And not a victim. Eli is a survivor, no matter what it takes. Above all things, this is a story about loneliness and the need to "let the right one in".
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128 of 141 people found the following review helpful By W.Kim on November 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The novel, (I've a used copy of the UK translation) is painted on a much broader (encompassing and developing characters that were quite secondary in the film), far wilder and much scarier. Perhaps it's the actress, but the cinematic Eli seems very human at times. In the book, you never forget that she's essentially inhuman.

The author has an interesting knack for making even the most reprehensible characters (worse than the vampire) sympathetic, including a zombie pedophile, sadistic violent children, and a crew of pathetic alcoholics.

I only wish the translator's prose style wasn't so plain, the story could definitely use a little juicing up - not in terms of plot, so much as language.

The current film adaptation's stays close to the first half of the book (though for reasons of emphasis, much has been condensed, compressed, combined and left out - esp. the supporting characters - who add a lot to the original story) up to about the halfway point in the story, when some disturbing possibilities hinted at by the author play out, taking the story in two potentially difficult to take scenes, into JT Leroy-ish, "The Heart is Deceitful Among All Things" territory.

Those interested in reading the book be forewarned. However if you can handle those elements, action and pure horror elements get more plentiful and far, far wilder in the second half of the novel. It's a far harder ride than the movie.

In a way this is a great response to the surfeit of Buffy imitators on the popular fiction shelves these days. After all you'd have to be in pretty f_@kin' dire straits to let someone as utterly "other" (not to mention lethal) as the book's Eli into your life. And Blackeberg (the public housing estate Oskar edures) ain't Sunnydale. It's gotta' enough monsters even without the supernatural ones. (Think, Hubert Selby-Lite, with Vampires).
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