Wednesday, December 24, 2008

John Ajvide Lindqvist - Let the Right One In

I bought this book last year but didn't read it until now. I found out that a Swedish movie had been made based on this book and I decided to read the book first before checking out the movie. This was a very interesting novel, but also quite strange and disturbing at the same time. It tackles a diverse range of controversial issues and they're all wrapped up in this weird vampire love story. First, there's Oskar who is incessantly bullied at school and fantasizes about being a mass murderer (that screams major therapy issues right there). Then there's Eli, a vampire stuck at 12 years of age, who looks like a girl but is actually a boy before he got castrated in some former life and now possesses no form of genitals, and is in a relationship of sorts with Oskar. Throw in Håkan, who is a pedophile and looks after Eli because he's driven by his own twisted desires and he is willing to do pretty much anything for her, including murdering people to get fresh blood for her. And there's more from where all that came from! It's an absolutely fascinating read but it does get uncomfortable at times. It's still a haunting story though, and it captures a wide range of emotions: despair; loneliness; helplessness; yearning; and hope. It did get a little confusing at times; there was a myriad of supporting characters and my unfamiliarity with Swedish names made it a little difficult to follow the story occasionally. The film was a simplified version of the novel, leaving out some of the more challenging aspects, but still remained very faithful to the book and captured a lot more of the story than I thought it would. There is going to be an English (Hollywood) remake to be released in 2009 or 2010, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. Overall, definitely a worthwhile read but with its subject matter, it probably won't be for everybody.