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Let the Right One in Paperback – 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 517 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Quercus; paperback / softback edition (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847248489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847248480
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (517 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,175,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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