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“It’s easy to compare Lindqvist to Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman.” ---Dagens Næringsliv (Norway)
“Sweden's Stephen King...a classic tale of horror.” ---Tucson Citizen
“A brilliant take on the vampire myth, and a roaring good story.” ---Kelley Armstrong, bestselling author of Haunted
"Absolutely chilling. This page-turner grabs you from the onset and just won't let go. Vampires at their Anne Ricean best!" ---L. A. Banks, author of Bite the Bullet and the Vampire Huntress series
About the Author
John Ajvide Lindqvist's debut novel, Let the Right One In, was an instant bestseller in Sweden and was named Best Novel in Translation 2005 in Norway. The Swedish film adaptation, directed by Tomas Alfredsson, has won top honors at film festivals all over the globe, including Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. An American remake, Let Me In, written and directed by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves, was released in October 2010 to rave reviews.
Lindqvist grew up in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm and the setting for Let the Right One In. Wanting to become something awful and fantastic, he first became a conjurer, and then was a stand-up comedian for twelve years. He has also written for Swedish television. He lives in Sweden.
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).
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".Read more ›
Vampire stories tend to come in two flavours -- either they're creepy horor stories, or celebrations of goth hotties tortured by their immortality.
But John Ajvide Lindqvist's "Let The Right One In" is neither kind or story. Instead this haunting, atmospheric Swedish movie is a poignant look at a very unique friendship between a young boy and a vampire child. His spare prose has a haunting poetic edge even in the violent scenes, and is littered with moments of pure creepiness and beauty.
A man and a young girl have moved into the apartment next to Oskar's. But he's more concerned with the savage bullies that attack him every single day.
But as he vents his frustrations by stabbing a tree, he sees a ghostly young girl named Eli, who informs him that she can't be his friend. She turns out to be as much of an oddball as Oskar -- especially since she only ventures out at night, smells like death, and is unaffected by the winter cold. But despite her odd greeting, the two strike up an innocent friendship.
At the same time, her servant Hakan is going around town killing young boys for Eli's sake, and trying to blackmail her into sleeping with him in exchange for blood. Oskar realizes that Eli is a bona fide vampire -- and not really a girl -- but doesn't intend to let that get in the way of their puppy love. Yet when Hakan's errands go horribly awry, Oskar finds himself to be the only person Eli can rely on.
Trust me, "Let the Right One In" has no sentimental ideas about children (even vampiric ones) -- they can be more violent than anyone, because they are more vulnerable.Read more ›