Book Review: Let The Right One In (John Ajvide Lindqvist)
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Let The Right One In focuses on the life of bullied Oskar and the unlikely friendship he forms with his new next door neighbour Eli.
Set in the wintery landscape of Sweden, Oskar’s story unfolds delicately. After befriending the strange Eli, Oskar finds both new confidence and new feelings. Whilst Oskar undergoes a very personal transformation, his local area begins to witness horrors never before experienced. Told through various characters’ perspectives, such horrors begin to ravish both public and personal life.
The changes Oskar experiences are not limited to himself and soon Eli’s presence is something the community of Blackeberg has to face before it is too late.
Described as a re-envisioning of the classic vampire tale, Lindqvist’s novel employs some truly harrowing scenes. These scenes are, at times, difficult to digest due to their proximity to society and the severity of their ghastliness.
The dialogue in the novel is sometimes flat and lifeless whilst the characters can be difficult to identify with which sadly undermines the power of the story being told. The isolation felt by characters such as Oskar and Tommy (another boy living in Oskar’s neighbourhood) is better dealt with and redeems the narrative.
The slow unraveling of Eli’s story, although sometimes infuriating, gives the tale a well-timed pace whilst the character of Hakan, Eli’s aid, develops into something truly unforgettable.
An adaptation of Lindqvist’s novel was released in 2008 and it has had a positive reception.