Monday, 1 November 2010

Let the Right One in by John Ajvide Lindqvist

I think I have found a new author to add to my 'favourite authors of all time' list.

I've just finished reading Let the Right One in by Swedish author John Ajviide Lindqvist. I was vaguely aware of the book from it's previous adaptation to a movie of the same name (that I have yet to see). I knew that the movie had been critically acclaimed and that an English language remake was on the way. When I saw the nice shiny tie-in edition for the new movie (retitled as Let Me In) I decided to add it to my Waterstones 3 for 2.

I am very glad I did. Within a few dozen pages I was totally hooked. By the time I was a hundred pages in I was looking up which other works by the author had been translated into English.

I won't go into a lot of plot detail here as you can find that stuff elsewhere. But the book focuses on a boy called Oskar who lives in Stockholm in 1981. Very quickly we discover that he is relentlessly bullied by other boys at school. In fact many of the incidents are quite difficult to read. One night he meets a strange girl called Eli who has moved in next door. They strike up a touching friendship dispite the fact that she turns out to be a vampire.

Some of the quotes on the cover compare the book favourably with Stephen King and that is probably accurate, hoverer I found the Swedish setting added something extra. And as with King you get to know the characters and feel the loss when bad stuff happens to them. And it does. What is also interesting is that the motivations of the characters are explored and explained so the reader has some sympathy for them right across the board.

I've already bought the other two translated books, Handling the Undead and Harbour. Lindqvist has also some other books that have yet to be translated so I have them to look forward to as well.