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Let the Right One In: A Novel

Let the Right One In: A Novel

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Let the Right One In: A Novel

оценки:
4/5 (157 оценки)
Длина:
664 страницы
10 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
Oct 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781429924467
Формат:
Книга

Описание

Let the Right One In Takes Top Honors at Tribeca Film Festival and is now an Award-winning movie in both the U.S. and Sweden!

It is autumn 1981 when inconceivable horror comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenager is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last---revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.
But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door---a girl who has never seen a Rubik's Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night. . . .Sweeping top honors at film festivals all over the globe, director Tomas Alfredsson's film of Let the Right One In has received the same kind of spectacular raves that have been lavished on the book. American and Swedish readers of vampire fiction will be thrilled!
Following the success in Sweden, this movie was remade starring Kodi Smit Mcpheem, Chloe Grace Moretz and Richard Jenkins under the new title Let Me In. The story has continued to reach new viewers in a London Musical and the book remains a vampire favorite among its readers.

Издатель:
Издано:
Oct 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781429924467
Формат:
Книга

Об авторе

John Ajvide Lindqvist is the author of Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead. Let The Right One In, his debut novel, was an instant bestseller in Sweden and was named Best Novel in Translation 2005 in Norway. The Swedish film adaptation, directed by Tomas Alfredsson, has won top honors at film festivals all over the globe, including Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. An American remake, Let Me In, written and directed by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves, was released in October 2010 to rave reviews. Lindqvist grew up in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm and the setting for Let the Right One In. Wanting to become something awful and fantastic, he first became a conjurer, and then was a stand-up comedian for twelve years. He has also written for Swedish television. He lives in Sweden.


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Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist

Part One

LUCKY IS HE

WHO HAS SUCH A FRIEND

Love trouble

will burst your bubble

boys!

—Siw Malmkvist, Love Trouble

trans. Laurie Thompson

I never wanted to kill. I am not naturally evil

Such things I do

just to make myself more attractive to you

Have I failed?

—Morrissey, "The Last of The Famous

International Playboys"

Wednesday

21 OCTOBER 1981

And what do you think this might be?

Gunnar Holmberg, police commissioner from Vällingby, held up a little plastic bag of white powder.

Maybe heroin, but no one dared say anything. Didn’t want to be suspected of knowing anything about stuff like that. Especially if you had a brother or a friend of your brother who did it. Shoot horse. Even the girls didn’t say anything. The policeman shook the bag.

Baking powder, do you think? Flour?

A mumble of answers in the negative. They didn’t want him to think class 6B was a bunch of idiots. Even though it was impossible to determine what was really in the bag, this lesson was about drugs, so you could draw certain conclusions. The policeman turned to the teacher.

What do you teach them in Home Economics these days?

The teacher smiled and shrugged her shoulders. The class laughed; the cop was OK. Some of the guys had even been allowed to touch his gun before class. It wasn’t loaded, but still.

Oskar’s chest felt like it was about to burst. He knew the answer to the question. It hurt him not to say anything when he knew. He wanted the policeman to look at him. Look at him and tell him he was right. He knew it was a dumb thing to do, but he still put his hand up.

Yes?

It’s heroin, isn’t it?

In fact it is. The policeman looked kindly at him. How did you know?

Heads turned in his direction, curious as to what he was going to say.

Naw . . . I mean, I’ve read a lot and stuff.

The policeman nodded.

Now there’s a good thing. Reading. He shook the little bag. You won’t have much time for it if you get into this, though. How much do you think this little bag is worth?

Oskar didn’t feel the need to say anything else. He had been looked at and spoken to. Had even been able to tell the cop he read a lot. That was more than he had hoped for.

He let himself sink into a daydream. How the policeman came up to him after class and was interested in him, sat down next to him. Then he would tell him everything. And the policeman would understand. He would stroke his hair and tell him he was alright; would hold him and say . . .

Fucking snitch.

Jonny Forsberg drove a hard finger into his side. Jonny’s brother ran with the drug crowd and Jonny knew a lot of words that the other guys in the class quickly picked up. Jonny probably knew exactly how much that bag was worth but he didn’t snitch. Didn’t talk to the cop.

It was recess and Oskar lingered by the coat rack, indecisive. Jonny wanted to hurt him—what was the best way to avoid it? By staying here in the hallway or going outside? Jonny and the other class members stormed out the doors into the schoolyard.

That’s right; the policeman had his car parked in the schoolyard and anyone who was interested could come take a look. Jonny wouldn’t dare beat him up when the policeman was there.

Oskar walked down to the double front doors and looked out the glass window. Just as he thought, everyone in the class had gathered around the patrol car. Oskar would also have wanted to be there but there was no point. Someone would knee him, another pull his underpants up in a wedgie, policeman or no policeman.

But at least he was off the hook this recess. He went out into the schoolyard and snuck around the back of the building, to the bathrooms.

Once he was in the bathroom he listened, cleared his throat. The sound echoed through the stalls. He reached his hand into his underpants and quickly pulled out the Pissball, a piece of foam about the size of a clementine that he had cut out of an old mattress and put a hole in for his penis. He smelled it.

Yup, he had pissed in his pants again. He rinsed it under the tap, squeezing out as much water as possible.

Incontinence. That was what it was called. He had read about it in a pamphlet that he had sneaked from the drugstore. Mostly something old women suffered from.

And me.

There were prescription medicines you could get, it said in the pamphlet, but he did not intend to use his allowance so he could humiliate himself at the prescription counter. And he would definitely not tell his mother; she would feel so sorry for him it would make him sick.

He had the Pissball and it worked for now.

Footsteps outside, voices. Pissball in hand, he fled into the nearest stall and locked the door at the same time as the outer door opened. He soundlessly climbed up onto the toilet seat, curling into a ball so his feet wouldn’t show if anyone looked under the door. Tried not to breathe.

Pig-gy?

Jonny, of course.

Hey Piggy, are you here?

Micke was with him. The worst two of the lot. No, Tomas was worse but he was almost never in on stuff that involved physical blows and scratches. Too smart for that. Was probably sucking up to the policeman right now. If the Pissball were discovered, Tomas was the one who would really be able to use it to hurt and humiliate him for a long time. Jonny and Micke, on the other hand, would just beat him up and that was fine with him. So in a way he was actually lucky. . . .

Piggy? We know you’re in here.

They checked his stall. Shook the door. Banged on it. Oskar wrapped his arms tightly around his legs and clenched his teeth so he wouldn’t scream.

Go away! Leave me alone! Why can’t you leave me alone?

Now Jonny was talking in a mild voice.

Little Pig, if you don’t come out now we have to get you after school. Is that what you want?

It was quiet for a while. Oskar exhaled carefully.

They attacked the door with kicks and blows. The whole bathroom thundered and the lock on the stall door started to bend inward. He should open it, go out to them before they got too mad, but he just couldn’t.

Pi-ggy?

He had put his hand up in class, a declaration of existence, a claim that he knew something. And that was forbidden to him. They could give a number of reasons for why they had to torment him; he was too fat, too ugly, too disgusting. But the real problem was simply that he existed, and every reminder of his existence was a crime.

They were probably just going to baptize him. Shove his head into the toilet bowl and flush. Regardless of what they invented, it was always such a relief when it was over. So why couldn’t he just pull back the lock, that was in any case going to tear off at the hinges at any moment, and let them have their fun?

He stared at the bolt that was forced out of the lock with a crack, at the door that flung open and banged into the wall, at Micke Siskov’s triumphantly smiling face, and then he knew.

That wasn’t the way the game was played.

He couldn’t have pulled back the lock, they couldn’t simply have climbed over the sides of the stall in all of three seconds, because those weren’t the rules of the game.

Theirs was the intoxication of the hunter, his the terror of the prey. Once they had actually captured him the fun was over and the punishment more of a duty that had to be carried out. If he gave up too early there was a chance they would put more of their energy into the punishment instead of the hunt. That would be worse.

Jonny Forsberg stuck his head in.

You’ll have to open the lid if you’re going to shit, you know. Go on, squeal like a pig.

And Oskar squealed like a pig. That was a part of it. If he squealed they would sometimes leave it at that. He put extra effort into it this time, afraid they would otherwise force his hand out of his pants in the process of punishing him and uncover his disgusting secret.

He wrinkled up his nose like a pig’s and squealed; grunted and squealed. Jonny and Micke laughed.

Fucking pig, go on, squeal some more.

Oskar carried on. Shut his eyes tight and kept going. Balled his hands up into fists so hard that his nails went into his palms, and kept going. Grunted and squealed until he felt a funny taste in his mouth. Then he stopped and opened his eyes.

They were gone.

He stayed put, curled up on the toilet seat, and stared down at the floor. There was a red spot on the tile below. While he was watching, another drop fell from his nose. He tore off a piece of toilet paper and held it against his nostril.

This sometimes happened when he was scared. His nose started to bleed, just like that. It had helped him a few times when they were thinking about hitting him, and decided against it since he was already bleeding.

Oskar Eriksson sat there curled up with a wad of paper in one hand and his Pissball in the other. Got nosebleeds, wet his pants, talked too much. Leaked from every orifice. Soon he would probably start to shit his pants as well. Piggy.

He got up and left the bathroom. Didn’t wipe up the drop of blood. Let someone see it, let them wonder. Let them think someone had been killed here, because someone had been killed here. And for the hundredth time.

Håkan Bengtsson, a forty-five-year-old man with an incipient beer belly, a receding hairline, and an address unknown to the authorities, was sitting on the subway, staring out of the window at what was to be his new home.

It was a little ugly, actually. Norrköping would have been nicer. But having said that, these western suburbs didn’t look anything like the Stockholm ghetto-suburbs he had seen on TV: Kista and Rinkeby and Hallonbergen. This was different.

NEXT STATION: RÅCKSTA.

It was a little softer and rounder than those places. Although, here was a real skyscraper.

He arched his neck in order to see the top floors of the Waterworks’ administrative building. He couldn’t recall there being any buildings this tall in Norrköping. But of course he had never been to the downtown area.

He was supposed to get off at the next station, wasn’t he? He looked at the subway map over the doors. Yes, the next stop.

PLEASE STAND BACK FROM THE DOORS. THE DOORS ARE CLOSING.

Was anyone looking at him?

No, there were only a few people in this car, all of them absorbed in their evening newspapers. Tomorrow there would be something about him in there.

His gaze stopped at an ad for women’s underwear. A woman was posing seductively in black lace panties and a bra. It was crazy. Naked skin wherever you looked. Why was it tolerated? What effect did it have on people’s heads, on love?

His hands were shaking and he rested them on his knees. He was terribly nervous.

Is there really no other way?

Do you think I would expose you to this if there was another way?

No, but . . .

There is no other way.

No other way. He just had to do it. And not mess up. He had studied the map in the phone book and chosen a forested area that looked appropriate, then packed his bag and left.

He had cut away the Adidas logo with the knife that was lying in the bag between his feet. That was one of the things that had gone wrong in Norrköping. Someone had remembered the brand name on the bag, and then the police had found it in the garbage container where he had tossed it, not far from their apartment.

Today he would bring the bag home with him. Maybe cut it into small pieces and flush it down the toilet. Is that what you did?

How is this supposed to work anyway?

THIS IS THE FINAL STATION. ALL PASSENGERS MUST DISEMBARK.

The subway car disgorged its contents and Håkan followed the stream of people, the bag in his hand. It felt heavy, although the only thing in it that weighed anything was the gas canister. He had to exercise a great deal of self-restraint in order to walk normally, rather than as a man on the way to his own execution. He couldn’t afford to give people any reason to notice him.

But his legs were leaden; they wanted to weld themselves onto the platform. What would happen if he simply stayed here? If he stood absolutely still, without moving a muscle, and simply didn’t leave. Waited for nightfall, for someone to notice him, call for . . . someone to come and get him. To take him somewhere.

He continued to walk at a normal pace. Right leg, left leg. He couldn’t falter now. Terrible things would happen if he failed. The worst imaginable.

Once he was past the checkpoint he looked around. His sense of direction wasn’t very good. Which way was the forested area? Naturally he couldn’t ask anyone. He had to take a chance. Keep going, get this over with. Right leg, left leg.

There has to be another way.

But he couldn’t think of any other way. There were certain conditions, certain criteria. This was the only way to satisfy them.

He had done it twice before, and had messed up both times. Hadn’t bungled it quite as much that time in Växjö but enough that they had been forced to move. Today he would do a good job, receive praise.

Perhaps a caress.

Two times. He was already lost. What difference did a third time make? None whatsoever. Society’s judgement would probably be the same. Lifetime imprisonment.

And morally? How many lashes of the tail, King Minos?

The park path he was on turned a corner further up, where the forest started. It had to be the forest he had seen on the map. The gas container and the knife rattled in the bag. He tried to carry the bag without jostling the contents.

A child turned onto the path in front of him. A girl, maybe eight years old, walking home from school with her school bag bouncing against her hip.

No, never!

That was the limit. Not a child so young. Better him, then, until he fell dead to the ground. The girl was singing something. He increased his pace in order to get closer to her, to hear.

"Little ray of sunshine peeking in

Through the window of my cottage . . ."

Did kids still sing that one? Maybe the girl’s teacher was older. How nice that the song was still around. He would have wanted to get even closer in order to hear better, so close in fact that he would be able to smell the scent of her hair.

He slowed down. Don’t create a scene. The girl turned off from the park path, taking a small trail that led into the forest. Probably lived in a house on the other side. To think her parents let her walk here all alone. And so young.

He stopped, let the girl increase the distance between them, disappear into the forest.

Keep going, little one. Don’t stop to play in the forest.

He waited for maybe a minute, listened to a chaffinch singing in a nearby tree. Then he went in after her.

Oskar was on his way home from school, his head heavy. He always felt worse when he managed to avoid punishment in that way, by playing the pig, or something else. Worse than if he had been punished. He knew this, but couldn’t handle the thought of the physical punishment when it approached. He would rather sink to any level. No pride.

Robin Hood and Spider-Man had pride. If Sir John or Doctor Octopus cornered them they simply spit danger in the face, come what may.

But what did Spider-Man know, anyway? He always managed to get away, even if it was impossible. He was a comic book action figure and had to survive for the next issue. He had his spider powers, Oskar had his pig squeal. Whatever it took to survive.

Oskar needed to comfort himself. He had had a shitty day and now he needed some compensation. Despite the risk of running into Jonny and Micke he walked up toward downtown Blackeberg, to Sabis, the local grocery store. He shuffled up along the zigzaging ramp instead of taking the stairs, using the time to gather himself. He needed to be calm for this, not sweaty.

He had been caught shoplifting once at a Konsum, another grocery chain, about a year ago now. The guard had wanted to call his mother but she had been at work and Oskar didn’t know her number, no, really he didn’t. For a week Oskar had agonized every time the phone rang, but then a letter arrived, addressed to his mother.

Idiotic. It was even labeled Police Authorities, District of Stockholm and of course Oskar had ripped it open, read about his crime, faked his mother’s signature, and returned the letter in order to confirm that she had read it. He was a coward, maybe, but he wasn’t stupid.

What was cowardly, anyway? Was this, what he was about to do, cowardly? He stuffed his down coat full of Dajm, Japp, Coco, and Bounty chocolate bars. Finally he slipped a bag of chewy Swedish Cars between his stomach and pants, went to the checkout, and paid for a lollipop.

On the way home he walked with his head high and a bounce to his step. He wasn’t just Piggy, whom everyone could kick around; he was the Master Thief who took on dangers and survived. He could outwit them all.

Once he walked through the front gate to the courtyard of his apartment complex he was safe. None of his enemies lived in this complex, an irregular circle of buildings positioned inside the larger circle formed by his street, Ibsengatan. A double ring of protection. Here he was safe. In this courtyard nothing shitty had ever happened to him. Basically.

He had grown up here and it was here he had had friends before he started school. It was only in fifth grade that he started being picked on seriously. At the end of that year he had become a full-fledged target and even friends outside his class had sensed it. They called more and more seldom to ask him to play.

It was during that time he started with his scrapbook. He was on his way home to enjoy that scrapbook right now.

Wheeee!

He heard a whirring sound and something bumped into his feet. A dark red radio-controlled car was backing away from him. It turned and drove up the hill toward the front doors of his building at high speed. Behind the prickly bushes to the right of the front door was Tommy, a long antenna sticking out from his stomach. He was laughing softly.

Surprised you, didn’t I?

Goes pretty fast, that thing.

Yeah, I know. Do you want to buy it?

. . . how much?

Three hundred.

Naw, I don’t have that much.

Tommy beckoned Oskar closer, turned the car on the slope and drove it down at breakneck speed, stopping it with a huge skid in front of his feet, picked it up, patted it, and said in a low voice:

Costs nine hundred in the store.

Yes.

Tommy looked at the car, then scrutinized Oskar from top to bottom.

Let’s say two hundred. It’s brand new.

Yes, it’s great, but . . .

But what?

Nothing.

Tommy nodded, put the car down again, and steered it in between the bushes so the large bumpy wheels shook, let it come around the large drying rack and drive out on the path, going further down the slope.

Can I try?

Tommy looked at Oskar as if to evaluate his worthiness, then handed over the remote, pointing at his upper lip.

You been hit? You’ve got blood. There.

Oskar wiped his lip. A few brown crusts came off on his index finger.

No, I just . . .

Don’t tell. There was no point. Tommy was three years older, a tough guy. He would only say something about fighting back and Oskar would say sure and the end result would be that he lost even more respect in Tommy’s eyes.

Oskar played with the car for a while, then watched Tommy steer it. He wished he had the money so they could have made a deal. Have that between them. He pushed his hands into his pockets and felt the candy.

Do you want a Dajm?

No, I don’t like those.

A Japp?

Tommy looked up from the remote. Smiled.

You have both kinds?

Yeah.

Swiped ’em?

. . . yeah.

OK.

Tommy put his hand out and Oskar gave him a Japp that Tommy slipped into the back pocket of his jeans.

Thanks. See you.

Bye.

Once Oskar made it into the apartment he laid out all the candy on his bed. He was going to start with the Dajm, then work his way through the double bits and end with the Bounty, his favorite. Then the fruit-flavored gummy cars that kind of rinsed out his mouth.

He sorted the candy in a long line next to the bed in the order it would be eaten. In the refrigerator he found an opened bottle of Coca-Cola that his mom had put a piece of aluminum foil over. Perfect. He liked Coke even more when it was a little flat, especially with candy.

He removed the foil and put the bottle next to the candy, flopped belly down on his bed, and studied the contents of his bookcase. An almost complete collection of the series Goosebumps, here and there augmented by a Goosebumps anthology.

The bulk of his collection was made up of the two bags of books he had bought for two hundred kronor through an ad in the paper. He had taken the subway out to Midsommarkransen and followed the directions until he found the apartment. The man who opened the door was fat, pale, and spoke in a low, hoarse voice. Luckily he had not invited Oskar to come in, just carried out the two bags, taken the two hundred, nodded, said Enjoy, and closed the door.

That was when Oskar had become nervous. He had spent months searching for older publications in the series in the used comics stores along Götgatan in South Stockholm. On the phone the man had said he had precisely those older volumes. It had all been too easy.

As soon as Oskar was out of sight he put the bags down and went through them. But he had not been cheated. There were forty-five in all, from issue number two to forty-six.

You could no longer get these books anywhere. And all for a paltry two hundred!

No wonder he had been afraid of that man. What he had done was no less than rob him of a treasure.

Even so, they were nothing compared to his scrapbook.

He pulled it out from its hiding place under a stack of comics. The scrapbook itself was simply a large sketchbook he had swiped from the discount department store Åhléns in Vällingby; simply walked out with it under his arm—who said he was a coward?—but the contents . . .

He unwrapped the Dajm bar, took a large bite, savoring the familiar crunch between his teeth, and opened the cover. The first clipping was from The Home Journal: a story about a murderess in the US in the forties. She had managed to poison fourteen old people with arsenic before she was caught, tried, and sentenced to death by electric chair. Understandably, she had requested to be executed by lethal injection instead, but the state she was in used the chair and the chair it was.

That was one of Oskar’s dreams: to see someone executed in the electric chair. He had read that the blood started to boil, the body contorted itself in impossible angles. He also imagined that the person’s hair caught on fire but he had no official source for this belief.

Still, pretty amazing.

He turned the page. The next entry was from the newspaper Aftonbladet and concerned a Swedish murderer who had mutilated his victims’ bodies. Lame passport photo. Looked like any old person. But he had murdered two male prostitutes in his home sauna, butchered them with an electric chain saw, and buried them out back behind the sauna. Oskar ate the last piece of Dajm and studied the man’s face closely. Could have been anybody.

Could be me in twenty years.

Håkan had found a good place to stand watch, a place with a clear view of the path in both directions. Further in among the trees he had found a protected hollow with a tree in the middle and there he had left the bag of equipment. He had slipped the little halothane gas canister into a holster under his coat.

Now all he had to do was wait.

Once I also wanted to grow up

To know as much as Father and Mother . . .

He hadn’t heard anyone sing that song since he was in school. Was it Alice Tegnér? Think of all the wonderful songs that had disappeared, that no one sang anymore. Think of all the wonderful things that had disappeared, for that matter.

No respect for beauty—that was characteristic of today’s society. The work of the great masters were at most employed as ironic references, or in advertising. Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, where you see a pair of jeans in place of the spark.

The whole point of the picture, at least as he saw it, was that these two monumental bodies each came to an end in two index fingers that almost, but not quite touched. There was a space between them a millimeter or so wide. And in this space: life. The sculptural enormity and richness of detail of this picture was simply a frame, a backdrop, to emphasize the crucial void in its center. The point of emptiness that contained everything.

And in its place someone had superimposed a pair of jeans.

Someone was coming up the path. He crouched down with the sound of his heart beating in his ears. No. An older man with a dog. Two wrongs from the outset. First a dog he would have to silence, then poor quality.

A lot of screams for so little wool, said the man who sheared the pig.

He looked at his watch. In less than two hours it would be dark. If no one suitable came along in the next hour he would have to settle for whatever was available. Had to be back home before it got dark.

The man said something. Had he seen him? No, he was talking to the dog.

Does that feel better, sweetpea? You really had to go, didn’t you. When we get home daddy will give you some liverwurst. A nice thick slice of liverwurst for daddy’s good little girl.

The halothane container pressed against Håkan’s chest as he leaned his head into his hands and sighed. Poor bastard. All these pathetic lonely people in a world without beauty.

He shivered. The wind had grown cold over the course of the afternoon, and he wondered if he should take out the rain jacket he had stowed away in his bag as protection against the wind. No. It would restrict his movement and make him clumsy where he needed to be quick. And it could heighten peoples’ suspicions.

Two young women in their twenties walked by. No, he couldn’t handle two. He caught fragments of their conversation.

". . . she’s going to keep it now . . ."

. . . is a total ape. He has to realize that he . . .

. . . her fault because . . . not taking the pill . . .

But he, like, has to . . .

. . . you imagine? . . . him as a dad . . .

A girlfriend who was pregnant. A young man who wasn’t going to take responsibility. That’s how it was. Happened all the time. No one thought of anything but themselves. My happiness, my future was the only thing you heard. Real love is to offer your life at the feet of another, and that’s what people today are incapable of.

The cold was eating its way into his limbs; he was going to be clumsy now, raincoat or no raincoat. He put his hand inside his coat and pushed the trigger on the canister. A hissing noise. It was working. He let go of the trigger.

He jumped in place and slapped his arms to get warm. Please let someone come. Someone who was alone. He looked at his watch. Half an hour to go. Let someone come. For life’s sake, for love.

But a child at heart I want to be

For children belong to the Kingdom of God.

By the time Oskar had read through the whole scrapbook and finished all the candy it was starting to get dark. As usual after eating so much junk, he felt dazed and slightly guilty.

Mom would be home in two hours. They would eat dinner, then he would do his English and math homework. After that he would read a book or watch TV with her. But there wasn’t anything good on TV tonight. They would have cocoa and sweet cinnamon rolls and chat. Then he would go to bed, but have trouble falling asleep since he would be worried about tomorrow.

If only he had someone he could call. He could of course call Johan, in the hope that he wasn’t doing anything else.

Johan was in his class and they had a good time when they hung out, but if Johan had a choice, he never chose Oskar. Johan was the one who called when he had nothing better to do, not Oskar.

The apartment was quiet. Nothing happened. The concrete walls sealed themselves around him. He sat on his bed with his hands on his knees, his stomach heavy with sweets.

As if something was about to happen. Now.

He held his breath, listening. A sticky fear crept over him. Something was approaching. A colorless gas seeping out of the walls, threatening to take form, to swallow him up. He sat stiffly, holding his breath, and listened. Waited.

The moment passed. Oskar breathed again.

He went out into the kitchen, drank a glass of water, and grabbed the biggest kitchen knife from the magnetic strip. Tested the blade against his thumbnail, just like his dad had taught him. Dull. He pulled the knife through the sharpener a couple of times, then tried it again. It cut a microscopic slice out of his nail.

Good.

He folded a newspaper around the knife as a stand-in holster, taped it up, and pushed the packet down between his pants and left hip. Only the handle stuck up. He tried to walk. The blade was in the way of his left leg and so he angled it down along his groin. Uncomfortable, but it worked.

He put his jacket on in the hall. Then he remembered all the candy wrappers that lay strewn around his room. He gathered them all up and stuffed them into his pocket, in case mom came home before he did. He could hide the wrappers under a rock in the forest.

Checked one more time to make sure he hadn’t left any evidence behind.

The game had already begun. He was a dreaded mass murderer. He had already slain fourteen people with his sharp knife without leaving a single clue behind. No hair, no candy wrapper. The police feared him.

Now he was going out into the forest to select his next victim.

Strangely enough he already knew the name of his victim, and what he looked like. Jonny Forsberg with his long hair and large, mean eyes. He would make him plead and beg for his life, squeal like a pig, but in vain. The knife would have the last word and the earth would drink his blood.

Oskar had read those words in a book and liked them.

The Earth Shall Drink His Blood.

While he locked the front door to the apartment and walked out of the building with his hand resting on the knife handle he repeated these words like a mantra.

The earth shall drink his blood. The earth shall drink his blood.

The entrance he had used on his way into the yard lay at the right end of his building, but he walked to the left, past two other buildings, and out through the entrance where the cars could drive in. Left the inner fortification. Crossed Ibsengatan and continued down the hill. Left the outer fortification. Continued on toward the forest.

The earth shall drink his blood.

For the second time this day Oskar felt almost happy.

There were only ten minutes left of Håkan’s self-imposed time limit when a lone boy came walking down the path. Thirteen or fourteen, as far as he could judge. Perfect. He had been planning to sneak down to the other end of the path and then come walking toward his intended victim.

But now his legs had really gotten stuck. The boy was walking nonchalantly along the path and Håkan was going to have to hurry. Every second that went by reduced the chance of success. Even so his legs simply refused to budge. He stood paralyzed and stared at the chosen one, the perfect one, who was moving forward, who was about to pull up next to where he was standing, right in front of him. Soon it would be too late.

Have to. Have to. Have to.

If he didn’t do it, he would have to kill himself. Couldn’t go home empty-handed. That’s how it was. It was him or the boy. Go ahead and choose.

He finally got going, too late. Now he made his approach by stumbling through the forest, straight at the boy, instead of simply meeting him calmly on the path. Idiot. Clumsy oaf. Now the boy would be on his guard, suspicious.

Hello there! he called out to the boy. Excuse me!

The boy stopped. He didn’t run away, he could be grateful for that. He had to say something, ask something. He walked up to the boy who was standing on the path, alert, uncertain.

Excuse me . . . Could you tell me what the time is?

The boy’s gaze went to Håkan’s watch.

Yes, well, mine has stopped, you see.

The boy’s body was tense as he checked his watch. He couldn’t do anything about that. Håkan put his hand inside his coat and rested his index finger on the trigger while he waited for the boy’s answer.

Oskar walked down the hill past the printing company, then turned onto the path into the forest. The weight in his belly was gone, replaced with an intoxicating sense of anticipation. On his way to the forest the fantasy had gripped him and now it felt like reality.

He saw the world through the eyes of a murderer, or so much of a murderer’s eyes as his thirteen-year-old’s imagination could muster. A beautiful world. A world he controlled, a world that trembled in the face of his actions.

He walked along the forest path looking for Jonny Forsberg.

The earth shall drink his blood.

It was starting to get dark and the trees closed around him like a silent crowd, following his smallest movements with trepidation, fearful that one of them was the intended target. But the killer moved through them, past them; he had already caught sight of his prey.

Jonny Forsberg was standing at the top of a hill some fifty meters from the trail, hands on his hips, a grin pasted on his face. Thought it was going to be business as usual. That he would force Oskar to the ground, hold his nose, and force pine needles and moss into his mouth, or some such thing.

But this time he was mistaken. It wasn’t Oskar who was walking toward him, it was the Murderer, and the Murderer’s hand closed hard around the handle of the knife, preparing himself.

The Murderer walked with slow dignified steps over to Jonny Forsberg, looked him in the eyes, and said Hi Jonny.

Hello Piggy. Are you allowed out this late?

The Murderer pulled out his knife. And lunged.

Uh, it’s . . . a quarter past five.

OK, thanks.

The boy didn’t leave. Just stood there staring at Håkan, who took the opportunity to step closer. The boy stood still, following him with his gaze. This was going to hell. Of course the boy sensed something was wrong. First a man came storming out of the woods to ask him what the time was and now he had struck a Napoleon pose with his hand inside his coat.

What do you have there?

The boy gestured at Håkan’s heart region. Håkan’s head was empty; he didn’t know what he was going to do. He took out the gas container and showed it to the boy.

What the hell is that?

Halothane gas.

What are you carrying it around for?

Because . . . He felt the foam covered mouthpiece and tried to think of something to say. He couldn’t lie. That was his curse. Because . . . it’s part of my job.

What kind of job?

The boy had relaxed somewhat. He was holding a sport bag similar to the one Håkan had stowed in the hollow up in the woods. Håkan gestured to the bag with the hand that was holding the gas canister.

Are you on your way to work out or something?

When the boy glanced down at his bag he had his chance.

Both arms shot out, the free hand grabbing the boy by the back of the head, the other pressing the mouthpiece of the canister against his mouth. Håkan released the trigger. It let out a hissing sound like a large snake and the boy tried to pull his head away but it was locked between Håkan’s hands in a desperate vice.

The boy threw himself back and Håkan followed. The hissing of the snake drowned out all other sounds as they fell onto the wood shavings on the trail. Håkan’s hands were still clenched around the boy’s head and he held the mouthpiece in place as they rolled around on the ground.

After a couple of deep breaths the boy started to relax in his grip. Håkan still made sure the mouthpiece was in place, then looked around.

No witnesses.

The hissing sound of the canister filled his head like a bad migraine. He locked the trigger in place and teased his free hand out from underneath the boy, loosened the rubber band and then drew it back over the boy’s head. The mouthpiece was secured.

He got up with aching arms and regarded his prey.

The boy lay there with his arms thrown out from his body, the mouthpiece over nose and mouth, and the halothane canister on his chest. Håkan looked around once more, retrieved the boy’s bag, and placed it on his stomach. Then he picked him up and carried him to the hollow.

The boy was heavier than he had expected: a lot of muscle. Unconscious weight.

He was panting from the exertion of carrying the boy over the soggy ground while the hissing of the gas cut through his head like a chain saw. He deliberately panted more loudly so as not to hear the sound.

With numb arms and sweat pouring down his back he finally reached his destination. There, he laid the boy down in the deepest part of the hollow and then stretched out beside him. It grew quiet. The boy’s chest rose and fell. He would wake up in approximately eight minutes, at most. But he wouldn’t.

Håkan lay beside the boy, studied his face, caressed it with a finger. Then he pulled himself closer to the boy, took the floppy body in his arms, and pressed it to him. He kissed the boy tenderly on the cheek, whispered forgive me, and got up.

Tears threatened to well up into his eyes as he looked at the defenseless body on the ground. He could still refrain.

Parallel worlds. A comforting thought.

There was a parallel world where he didn’t do what he was about to do. A world where he walked away, leaving the boy to wake up and wonder what had happened.

But not in this world. In this world he now walked over to his bag and opened it. He was in a hurry. He quickly pulled on his raincoat and got out his tools. A knife, a rope, a large funnel, and a five liter plastic jug.

He put everything on the ground next to the boy, looking at the young body one last time. Then he picked up the rope and got to work.

He thrust and thrust and thrust. After the first blow Jonny had realized this wasn’t going to be like those other times. With blood gushing from a deep cut on his cheek, he tried to escape, but the Murderer was faster. With a couple of quick moves he sliced away the tendons at the back of the knees and Jonny fell down, lay writhing in the moss, begging for mercy.

But the Murderer wasn’t going to relent. Jonny was screaming . . . like a pig . . . when the Murderer threw himself over him and let the earth drink his blood.

One stab for what you did to me in the bathroom today. One for when you tricked me into playing knuckle poker. And I’m cutting your lips out for everything nasty you’ve ever said to me.

Jonny was bleeding from every orifice and could no longer say or do anything mean. He was long since dead. Oskar finished by puncturing his glassy eyeballs, whack whack, then got up and regarded his work.

Large pieces of the rotting, fallen trees that had represented Jonny’s body had been hacked away and the tree trunk was full of perforations. A number of wood chips were scattered under the healthy tree that had been Jonny when he was still standing.

His right hand, the knife hand, was bleeding. There was a small cut right next to his wrist; the blade must have slipped while he was stabbing. Not the ideal knife for this purpose. He licked his hand, cleaning the wound with his tongue. It was Jonny’s blood he was tasting.

He wiped the last of the blood on the newspaper holster, put the knife back, and started walking home.

The forest that, starting a few years back, had felt threatening, the haunt of enemies, now felt like a home and a refuge. The trees drew back respectfully as he passed. He didn’t feel an ounce of fear though it was starting to get really dark. No anxiety for the next day, whatever it would bring. He would sleep well tonight.

When he was back in the yard, he sat down on the edge of the sandbox for a while to calm himself before he went back home. Tomorrow he would get himself a better knife, a knife with a parry guard, or whatever it was called . . . so he didn’t cut himself. Because this was something he was going to do again.

It was a good game.

Thursday

22 OCTOBER

His mom reached over the kitchen table and squeezed Oskar’s hand. There were tears in her eyes.

"You are absolutely not allowed to go into the woods by yourself, do you hear me?"

A boy about Oskar’s age had been murdered in Vällingby yesterday. It had appeared in the afternoon papers and his mother was completely beside herself when she came

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Что люди думают о Let the Right One In

4.2
157 оценки / 120 Обзоры
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  • (3/5)
    Swedish people are long-winded. Good, now that that's off my chest, let's continue. I love the story, and I love the concept, but there were a lot of places where I could have pressed fast-forward. The reason to read a book after the movie is to see what you missed - what "really" happened. "Let the Right One In" is pretty much the same, but much, much longer. Every detail is explored, every thought, every idea, every conversation is brought out into long detail. You lose what the author is trying to say, because there are so many storylines. And if you stop reading, you're going to forget what happened. It was like Lindqvist just kept writing and writing and writing, then he had to pee, came back, and realized he had written 40,000 pages. Maybe this is just a case of liking the first version you see (like sometimes you hear the remix or cover first, and you like that better than the original song), but I recommend the movie over the book. You don't miss anything, and the movie makes a little more sense. Plus, the visuals work better in film than in the book.
  • (4/5)
    Lindqvist has been compared to Stephen King which is a comparison not without merit as he matches King blow for blow with this story. In fact, Let the Right One In takes me back to my King reading youth which lies somewhere in the 1980's and not far from the year in which this book is set (1981) .I haven't read a horror book for many years and, unusually for me, I bought this book after I had seen the Swedish film. I was taken by the simplicity, the atmosphere and horrific beauty of the film that I just had to get the book. I'd heard that the film had missed out much that was in the book (I am not surprised) and this left me curious. The book had been sitting on my shelf unread for the last couple of years and now, having read it within a week or so, I'm wondering why I had left it for so long.Oskar is 12 years old and relentlessly bullied at school. He has no friends. Life is hard and he is anxious to the point of incontinence. His dream world consists of keeping a scrap-book of newspaper articles on murders and mass murderers and fantasising about fighting back and killing his bullies. He's a good kid at heart but sad and angry at the cards life has dealt him, about being singled out and bullied and at himself and his inability to fight back. Things change when he meets Eli, his new neighbour and possible soul mate.Eli is 'around' 12 years old and quite eccentric. She has moved into the flat next door with her 'father' but all is not as it seems. After a chance meeting with Oskar one evening they start to develop a friendship. As this friendship develops so does Oskar's strength and confidence in life. As the story develops so does his awareness around sex, sexuality and love, in particular the sense of confusion he feels when he thinks about Eli. This is certainly a 'coming of age' relationship for Oskar. This is also the case for Eli as she explores her feelings for Oskar, their friendship and especially her struggle in coming to terms with being a '12 year old child' having lived as a vampire for 200 years.Around this developing unconventional relationship, Lindqvist creates an atmosphere that is typically Scandinavian. Cold, dark, simple and stylish with a quirky edge. Yes, Lindqvist uses a lot of words, taking his time to get to where we should be. Some readers may feel that an amount of what Lindqvist has written is superfluous. However, I believe everything to be an essential part of the story. Lindqvist takes his time, building characters and scenes that may not initially feel relevant to the reader but they will eventually come together to form vital parts to the story overall. Give it time. Once again, comparisons to Stephen King can be made. I remember reading 'Christine' when I was younger, wondering where the heck things were going. King got there eventually and it made the journey all the more worthwhile. It's the same here with Let the Right One In and Lindqvist.We get there....eventually.Ultimately, this is a story of two lonely people coming together to form a friendship in a world in which they don't fit. However, a warning note to readers attracted to the more romantic and ethereal vampire story - Let the Right One In is not soft around the edges. It doesn't mince its words and certainly does not romanticise the subject in any way. Whilst it sensitively explores the developing relationship between Eli and Oskar, it remains quite graphic and descriptive in detail. It's gritty, dirty and, in some scenes, downright seedy. It's certainly not a book for the faint hearted nor for those that like their vampires with a bit more romance and less blood and dirt. It's definitely a book for those who like a horror story to hit them straight between the eyes and not allow them get up for a while afterwards.
  • (3/5)
    I wanted to like this book, I really did. I enjoyed the movie and thought the premise had so much potential. The author has been compared to Stephen King, and I have to agree with that glaring indictment. Where I should have been able to knock this book out in a couple of nights, I ended up slugging through it for several weeks because I just didn't care about any of the characters. If I could have found some connection to at least one of the characters then the narrative structure wouldn't have seemed confusing. As it is, large chunks of the narrative feel irrelevant and sometimes just downright annoying. Like so many Stephen King novels this one takes a brilliant premise and buries it with flat characters and mediocre prose.
  • (5/5)


    Lots of blood.

    Death.

    Mutilation.

    Horror on several levels.

    Confident it will remain one of my favorite love stories of all time.

    Perhaps...I know you will...yes. I think. Yes.

    I've decided I'm a little...off. I'm comfortable with that. This was excellent. I don't know exactly what kind of a mind comes up with a story like this. I'm glad they're out there though. I hope they don't cause any real harm. There are so many things in this story, so many different aspects, that can shock or disturb. And yet they don't appear at all to be there for that explicit purpose. There was no intent. They're just there. That's just what was. To change anything would be to diminish the story. I actually finished this with a smile on my face and the feeling of fairy tale.
  • (4/5)
    I did like this book even though is was incredibly disturbing. This is not a vampire book for twilight fans. Hardcore european style vampires and quite a bit of paedophilia does not sound like something fun to read but the author pulls it off without completely turning your stomach.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent book. Great characters and development. Creepy because it's all so plausible - that vampires exist and Eli is on are just additional aspects of the setting. Vampirism is not overdone, or overwrought at all. It's a seamless part of the setting that motivates the characters in quite reasonable ways. And the characters, you care about them, flawed as they all are. Definitely one of the best books I've read recently.

    Also, I should add that it's very nice to see that not all modern vampire fiction has devolved into glitter and schlocky romance. Vampires are visceral, primal things, so thanking, Mr. Lindqvist for writing this the way you did.
  • (3/5)
    Mixed feelings with this one. Very suspenseful and dark, which was a nice to see after all the hoopla over "soft" vampire stories of late (ahem... Twilight). It was difficult to read in some parts, though. I look forward to watching the movie adaptation.
  • (1/5)
    I lived in Sweden during the time this story is set so some details really rang a bell with me. I clearly remember the alcoholics and the town squares. Interesting to see Lindqvist refer to them as "our alcoholics". And pytt-i-panna! As soon as I read the word I recognised it but didn't remember what it was. I rang my mum to ask and remember eating it quite a lot. I made it last night but it wasn't as nice as my mum's. As to the novel itself, there are nods to Anne Rice with the child vampire and there are stylistic idiosyncrasies nicked from Stephen King. Unfortunately it's clunky and forced, the dialogue is unnatural and the characters are so wooden they appear to lurch into motion after the start of their scenes, a bit like a badly edited film.
  • (4/5)
    I have been interested in reading this book after reading a fascinating short story of his a few years ago. This book did not disappoint. It was eerie and consuming. It was also very gruesome, and it has some graphic child-sexual-abuse scenes, so beware. Luckily, I had read reviews of this book beforehand and already knew about the child abuse, so I was not quite as repulsed by it. However, this book lost an entire star because of the child-sexual-abuse, which didn't appear at all in the movies and wasn't absolutely necessary. The child abuse did help develop the character of Eli's father as a disgusting and pathetic failure, but I think both attributes could have been manged in other ways. Or, at least, without the graphic scenes.In general, I am pleased with Lindqvist's style - it is mysterious and flows well. The characters were well-drawn and believable (in a there-be-vampires sort of way). There dark, dreary mood was set early in the book and retained steadily throughout. There was nothing particularly original about Lindqvist's vampire, though Eli had some original personality traits and circumstances. Also, I've seen this book described as a romance, and I don't agree with that. Yes, Oskar asked Eli to "go steady," but that was about it. I mean, he was 12, and those feelings were very naive and not pronounced. This was a book about friendship, not romance.Overall, I was pleased with the book and would read another by Lindqvist, though I'll probably wait before I can get through another that has sexual abuse in it. The audiobook was well-read - the voices were distinguishable and the pacing was quite reasonable.
  • (1/5)
    Is there any point at all in anything that happens in this horrible book?

    EDIT: I think the best description I can come up with for it is it's like a crap Wasp Factory that's about four times as long.
  • (2/5)
    The story is set in 1980s Stockholm, Sweden, where a young boy who is bullied at school befriends an androgynous vampire-child living in the next building.So many times I thought about putting this down and not picking it back up, but I had gotten so far into the almost 500 pages that I forced myself to keep going to the end. One thing that strikes me about Swedish fiction: it is bleak, bleak, bleak! Unrelentingly so. There is no pleasure to be had from reading ultra-realistic horror featuring pedophiles, child prostitutes, hopeless alcoholics (so many alcoholics), sadistic juvenile delinquents, repressed and abusive cops, ineffectual single mothers, dreary apartment blocks with broken-down playgrounds. Even the 12-year-old protagonist, the most pitiful boy in the world, fantasizes about stabbing people repeatedly. This book was relentlessly depressing. The horror was of the gross-out kind, not the scary/creepy kind that I prefer. Castration, attempted anal rape of child-vampires, hydrochloric acid burning off someone's face--those are just the highlights. And it went on for far too long. I really didn't need to know about all of these side characters and their depressing, meaningless lives. I just wanted it to be over. Oh, did I mention all the annoying ellipses?I will say that there might be a good story buried in this overlong book somewhere. The vampire conceit is interesting and different, a counterpoint to Anne Rice's child-vampire. If the book had been edited and focused more on the central story, and if Oskar had somehow managed to rise above his own pathetic-ness at the end, it probably would have been much better.This book has really turned me off Swedish fiction, perhaps for good.
  • (4/5)
    Seriously creepy in a skeevy kind of way. There are many monsters to this book, of which i think the vampire was the least frightening. Not one I can claim to have enjoyed reading *shudder* but I'm honestly glad to have read.
  • (4/5)
    Horror is definitely not my usual genre, but I saw the movie (Swedish version) of John Ajvide Lindqvist's "Let the Right On In" and was so intrigued I decided to pick up the book. I'm glad I did, as I found the book to be a really original and interesting take on a vampire story. (No sparkly demons attending biology class here.)The book is populated by lots of damaged people, including the main character Oskar, who is destroyed by the schoolyard bullies that torment him daily. He meets Eli -- who appears to be a strange girl -- with a host of issues of her own. The novel is definitely very gory and filled with disturbing images. I found the story compelling though, and found it was a novel that was hard to put down.
  • (3/5)
    Oskar is about 12 years old and is getting bullied at school. He is happy to meet and become friends with the strange girl next door, Eli. Meanwhile, people are being murdered in town. Really, Eli is very strange... This was ok. I liked the Oskar/Eli storyline, but I lost focus for the myriad of other characters and mostly wasn't following when the focus was on others. I was listening to the audio, and it tends to be even harder to keep focus with an audio.
  • (5/5)
    I chose to read this book because a few years ago I saw the movie. I remembered it as interesting but a bit confusing and wanted to see if I got a different impression from the book. I did, although I think the phrase “the movie was much better” has become a cliché. The movie was an adaptation set in the US. The book was written in a Swedish setting; I think the importance of this has been overlooked when evaluating the book.Oskar is a kid without friends. The only attention he gets from his schoolmates is when they are torturing him. They like to make him squeal like a pig, put his head in the toilet and do things that we call bullying, but this seems to be before the popular internet. High technology in this story is an original, vs. clone, Rubik’s cube.When Oskar goes home, it is to a single parent home and mom is usually working. Oskar has a lot of time alone. He meets a neighbor of approximately the same age, but is told by the neighbor that there will be no friendship, that is just the way it is and no reason will be given. Oskar will eventually learn that the apparent girl who will not be his friend is not actually a girl. And “she” has been 12 years old for a few hundred years.Eli lives next door to Oskar and meets him on the playground after Oskar had supper with his mom. He thinks she is very strange, talks in a funny manner, and does not bathe often. His new friend also is in a single parent family, but it is a father and child rather than Oskar’s situation.After Oskar and Eli meet, the story moves quickly into disturbing areas. Eli’s father, Hakan, is not a father, but a supplier of blood to the never aging Eli. Hakan is mortal and has a sexual fixation on Eli. So we come to the disturbing question of whether it is incest when one is a mortal and one is a vampire. The reader’s mind may be relieved to find that Haken is actually only a pedophile in that he likes young boys. But does a vampire have gender? The overall setting of the book is a struggle that many teenagers have in growing up. Oskar and Eli have problems, but so do their schoolmates. Tommy runs a burglary gang and lives with his mother (single parent family) but mom has a boyfriend, a cop, who threatens Tommy’s business. Johnny, Tomas, and Micke are three primary torturers of Oskar, but Oskar will get even to some extent by starting a fire in the school desks of Johnny and Tomas. This will lead to all kinds of consequences for several characters, but I won’t supply the spoilers.Many characters in the book act and talk in ways that I think are unique to a country that is a cradle-to-grave welfare state. I have experienced this in a book titled “A Man Called Ove” and earlier in the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larssen. I cannot adequately describe the style. This book is a good introduction to the style.
  • (4/5)
    The atmosphere of the decaying housing estate, and the school bullying were the things I remembered most strongly after the first reading; the second was more vivid with the descriptions of Hakan, Eli and Oskar...
    Still a 4 star - the subject matter, of Hakan's unearthly longing was too uncomfortable for me to say I "loved" the book
  • (2/5)
    Don’t you hate it when you come across a book that piques your interest, has great reviews and was even turned into a pretty decent movie, only to be crushed by disappointment? That’s how it went with Let the Right One In. Years ago I watched the Swedish version of the movie and quite liked it. It had a suppressed creepiness that seemed to be passe in this new world of sparkly vampires who run speakeasies. Or whatever. It had a tight storyline of tormented boy meets supernatural girl who avenges him by visiting her blood sucking ways upon his enemies. No doubt the screenwriter read the book, but he or she ought to be credited for basically writing a whole new story out of the hints and possibilities of what Lindqvist managed to come up with. Talk about missing a great opportunity. There was so much potential wasted. Instead we’ve got a book that’s far too long, with pages, pages and pages of narrative taken up by people and events unimportant. Over and over we see Oskar beset by bullies and only once, once, does he have the temerity to do anything about it. The severity of the attacks escalates nicely with the final scene quite harrowing indeed, but by then we’re so anxious for the whole thing to be over that it barely matters when Eli swans in on a rope or whatever and saves the day. Despite many, many scenes of violence and horror rendered with careful and precise language, this final episode gets the equivalent of a pastel wash in watercolors. What? NOW you’re leaving things up to our imaginations? Just when we want solid pay off for trudging through your endless descriptions of drunks, paranoia, schoolyard bullies, weekends with dad, glue sniffing, meaningless inner monologues and torture scenes? OMG what a mess. There are so many needless story threads that don’t really connect up to anything. There’s very little import to Virginia’s awful plight other than describing the transformation from human to vampire, which could have been done with the “mind-meld” Eli does to Oskar. Ditto with what happens to Hakan. I mean, what was that all about? So we could have a nice little pedophile anal rape scene with a zombie and a vampire? I guess that was it. And how about Tommy’s whole “I hate my mom’s boyfriend” schtick? Yawn. This endless repetition blunted the novel’s strongest feature; the complex relationships and emotional lives of the characters (I just wish there were fewer of them because most of them don’t matter at all). Everyone is an agonized soul. No one is happy, fulfilled or even just doing ok. Nope. Everyone is miserable so that by comparison, Eli seems well-adjusted. Sweden needs antidepressants in the water, never mind fluoride.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best vampire novels I have ever read. I savored the scenes and... wow. I am impressed.
  • (4/5)
    Let the Right One In is a unique spin on the vampire tale. There are several mini stories that converge on the two main characters: Oskar and Eli. Oskar is a bullied boy with a thirst for revenge. Eli is the mysterious 12 year old who moves in next door and bewitches Oskar almost immediately. Eli is also a vampire. (This isn't a spoiler because this is a vampire novel, ya'll. Someone had to be a vampire.) This is no Twilight. That isn't to say that there aren't romantic tones but it's completely different from Edward and Bella. For one thing, they're 12 year olds. For another...well I don't want to give that part away. Lindqvist is a fantastic writer (and since it's been translated I'm sure it's even better in Swedish). There are so many themes that are covered in this book: bullying, discovering your true self, alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse (emotional and physical), and true love just to name a few.*I'm going to break one of my rules and give you guys a tiny spoiler. This is also a warning for those of you who might be triggered by sexual assault. Even though I had seen both film adaptations for Let the Right One In I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead for me in this book. Whereas gore, violence, and death have little to no effect on me some of the themes in this book gave me nightmares. There are graphic depictions of pedophilia, male castration, sodomy, and rape.*
  • (5/5)
    As a huge fan of the movie, I tried to go head first into reading this book without too many expectations. Furthermore, I desperately wanted to read the novel without thinking of the comparisons made between Mr. Lindqvist and Neil Gaiman or Clive Barker, as they are two of my favorite authors and nothing I've read so far has been anything like their works. However, I was blown away by the storytelling and beautiful writing in Let the Right One In. With differences from the film ranging from subtle to completely veering in a new direction, I was pleased to find that I could easily sink into the story just as I did when first seeing the film. I am adding this book to my "all time favorites" without a doubt. I hope to read his second release soon, and look forward to more outstanding work from this brilliant author!
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely amazing... So much more elaborate and twisted than the movie. I wasn't even bored since I've seen the movie first. Such a great take on the whole vampire stuff, probably my favorite!
  • (4/5)
    The writing voice and depth of the characters is what did it for me. JAL captures the innocence of a child and mixes it with horror of many varieties, capturing the human existence. There is a scene he wrote that I'd have to say is probably the 'scariest" I've ever read. However, the prose could have been much clearer and tighter. I was disappointed how the subtly of the story seemed to go all Holly Wood at the end. Despite it all, this is up there with my Dracula and Salem's Lot favs, I'm a hard pushover for vamp books, and this made my list.
  • (3/5)
    I watched the original movie adaptation when it first came out years ago, so I didn't remember much save for the main characters being children and that it took place in Sweden.Mmmm... this novel was really, really long. I listened to it as an audiobook, and I love listening to long books (40+) hours in the car. At 17 or so hours, this felt like it took FOREVER. There are a lot of subplots that are completely unnecessary. I liked the Eli/Oskar parts a lot, so it was tough when the story ventured away to a subplot about the friends of one of Eli's victims (this is a very long subplot, and eventually splits into different character subplots near the end), how his neighbor's mother is in a new relationship, how the school bully has a bad life, et cetera. There's a lot of that, and some of it could have been omitted.I also didn't realize pedophilia was one of the evil themes, and that was a huge problem for me. There's a weird pedophilia network in the present, and then a rather terrible story from Eli's past as well. I kept hoping I had come to the last of it, but then there'd be a little more. I wouldn't recommend it if you don't have a high tolerance, but it's interesting that it was used to balance out the fact that Eli was a murderer ("Well, Eli does kill people, but she is also constantly tortured by CHILD MOLESTERS" is kind of a weird theme for me).I liked the nuts and bolts of the story, though. Lindqvist is great at the scary stuff, and there's a wonderful air of menace and dread hanging over everything. The setting is also perfect, as I imagined almost every scene taking place in the cold and dark.I also liked all the extra details about Oskar. The scene with his bullying that opens the novel is heartbreaking, and I liked seeing him gain confidence as things progressed.
  • (5/5)
    Yes, I saw the movie first. That is, I saw the Sweedish film first, then the American remake (preferred the original), then I finally read the book. I loved the movie, therefore I was wary of the novel since one tends to be better than the other. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and found that it enhanced and fleshed out the characters and story lines that I already knew from the films. I recommend reading the book and seeing the films (at least the original). This is one of the rare instances in which I don't think it matters which you do first.
  • (4/5)
    A great book that manages to do something new with the vampire trope while keeping it very very traditional (no shiny, handsome vampires here). The book even manages to make you question who the real monster is ... is it the vampire or humanity? Its a tale of growing up, being accountable for your own actions (for right, or wrong). I like that Oscar is portrayed as a victim from the school bullies, but also as someone who allows himself to victimized (its an attitude that is severely lacking in today’s anti-bully society).Eli is... well, interesting. At first a monster, than as a sympathetic kid who is a victim of a disease... I also like Stockholm in this book - I don't know much about Sweden, but I believe that at one point, they were a country with very few resources until they found oil (maybe...). This is set in the early 80's, right when Sweden was making the change from backwards country to a modern society - the book addresses people on welfare, the death penalty, poverty, bullying, sad people trying to make ends meet. The time period also makes this book very bleak. It is a very monochromatic story, set in a Scandinavian winter. It totally adds to the creepiness of the story. The author did an excellent job in keeping the story sparse, The translator should also be given credit for doing an excellent job in translation that I believe captures the tone and imagery of the original Swedish story. My only complaint (and it is very minor) is that the book doesn't explain some Swedish only items and concepts (for example, a flammable product was used to start a fire... but I don't know what its application is for.I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves creepy stories, set in an interesting background, with very well written characters. It is a book that will stay with you.
  • (5/5)
    Very good, I thought. Portrayed vampires sympathetically, while not sparklifying them. The characters themselves were given thought and developed too, rather than the author just saying, "Here, have some vampires and blood and some drama too. That should do it." Of course, this was published a while ago, so right off that's a mark in its favor, what with the ridiculous point we've reached with every author who can halfway put words together into sentences saturating vampire/fairy/supernatural/etc. fiction with whatever half-assed teen romangst can be crapped out and sold. And now I'm ranting, but the covers of these books. The friggin' covers. Covers are a completely legit, tried-and-true method, in my experience, for judging a book. Nowadays I see a book with a mash-up of disembodied faces/headless bodies faded into/collaged with fuzzy, colorful or otherwise color-manipulated images of castles or whatnot. I see this, I give an involuntary sneer of disgust, and walk away or maybe, if I'm feeling especially hopeful/masochistic, pick the damn thing up and read the inside cover. And often gag, or maybe laugh and shake my head. And sure, the cover of the edition I'm reviewing does have some blurry, monotone photography, a face, a silhouette and some fog. But the book covers I'm talking about are on another level completely. A lower one, probably, or perhaps one in some other dimension which is not up or down, but which is certainly worse.

    But anyway. Good book. I liked. Maybe I'll start picking it apart for its flaws later on, but that's hard for me to do immediately after finishing it, and I don't feel like it, and anyway, a good book. So.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best pieces of literature I have ever read.
  • (4/5)
    I can't stop thinking about the characters. Most of them weren't likable but I ended up caring for them anyway. In the way you care about your family even if they're screwed up and do really bad things. This book is gruesome, horrifying, sweet and tender. how strange.
  • (2/5)
    To begin with, I loved this book. It had such a strong, dark opening. But by the time I got halfway through, I gave up on it. The violence wasn't so much gratuitous, as a pastiche of gratuitous violence. I didn't really care what happened to any of the characters, apart from the checkout clerk. So I gave up on it and decided to wait for the film.
  • (4/5)
    Love the Swedish film - haven't seen the Hollywood version and not sure I want to, I think the original was perfectly cast and Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson's faces are the ones I wish to remain in my head as Oskar and Eli. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although I agree with a number of other readers that the Hakan/Zombie storyline was unnecessary and in my opinion didn't add anything positive to the story. I personally also think the swimming pool scene was portrayed a lot better on screen than it was in the book, which surprised me.