Let the Right One In: John Ajvide Lindqvist

I finished reading this Swedish-to-English translation last night. Some people will already be familiar with the film of the same name which has attained cult status in little over a year of being in the public domain. At the time of writing this post, I have not actually watched Let the Right One In on the big screen so these words deal only with the book itself.

My wife bought me it for Christmas, knowing me as an aficionado of foreign literature and especially vampire novels. At the outset it is clear Let the Right One In is a translation, not because it is poorly written, you just get the sense when reading translations that the language just doesn’t flow the same. I find this enjoyable at times.

The book is over 500 pages long, and I have to say is peppered with some superfluous content. There is a bit too much focus on some minor characters; the whole Lacke, Virginia and friends storyline could have been removed and would have had no real bearing on the overall premise of the story.

However, where the book is intensely powerful is in the forging of an unlikely friendship/alliance between the vampire child in Eli and the bullied, pissball-wearing Oskar. Both young teenagers, both suffering for different reasons and both fighting inner turmoil. John Ajvide Lindqvist does a fantastic job of weaving these paradoxical characters together to create a real sense of emotion and in some cases, fright.

One area I really struggled with in the book were the volume of references to sexual deviance. Some of it made me feel rather uncomfortable.

Where Let the Right One In does excel is in the fright factor. There were times when I had to scan through passages to avoid the inevitable kill or scare. I am a scaredy cat!

All in all, a good, solid book with lots of merit. The alliance of Oskar and Eli(as) is impressively well written. There were elements of the book that left me very uncomfortable but I would suggest that is exactly what John Ajvide Lindqvist was trying to achieve.: 6.5/10


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