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Let the Right One In

John Ajvide Lindqvist

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Quercus

Published : 2007

Copyright : John Ajvide Lindqvist 2004

ISBN-10 : HB 1-84724-169-7
ISBN-13 : HB 978-1-84724-169-6

Publisher's Write-Up

Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends. And how they came to depend on one another, for life itself. Oskar is a 12 year old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city's edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he's frightened. Eli is the young girl who moves in next door. She doesn't go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200 year old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood.

John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend; and a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (181207) Rating (7/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
This is a modern vampire story set in small Scandinavian community. Oskar is a young boy living with his mother in an apartment block. He is bullied by boys at school who call him Piggy and make him do humiliating things. He seems to be one of those unfortunate kids at school with victim writ large, the one who, through no fault of their own becomes a target for every malcontent to take out their own frustrations on.

The local community is traumatised when a boy is murdered in a town not far away. In what appears to have been a ritual murder, he has been hung up and bled to death. The investigation reveals little, and apart from a lingering fear, life returns to normal. Oskar’s mum is concerned for her son and does not like him being out without knowing where he is or what time she is to expect him. Sitting outside one night, Oskar meets a young girl who also lives in his apartment block and they become friends.

The relationship between Oskar and Eli develops amidst a narrative of bleak personal tragedies. These are really quite depressing, telling of drunks and paedophiles, without hope or personal worth. We see these people with few redeeming characteristics, their friendships based on alcohol and convenience. It is not until the latter part of the book that there is anything more, and by then it is sadly too late.

In revisiting the vampire myth, the author has kept to some of the traditional notions; that they have to be invited to enter a home, that they can bewitch a person into wanting to provide their sustenance and that they cannot bear sunlight, but he has not kept to a world of money, power and glamour. This is vampires at their most tawdry, feeding on whatever desire a person may have and using it for their own ends.

After finishing this, I was left rather depressed, not because my rather quaint views of vampires was sullied, but because the views of the people were so bleak, and there was really very little uplifting in this book. Whilst reading it, however, it was engaging enough, if only as you waited to see if Oskar would stand up to the bullies or to see when Eli would tell Oskar her secret.

Very well written this is a strange, dark book of the type that becomes a cult classic... it really has to be the type of thing you like as the story is somewhat raw and uncompromising. If you like your books dark and brutally honest then you won’t be disappointed.
Chrissi (18th December 2007)

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