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Handling the Undead Paperback – 2 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; First Printing edition (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847249906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847249906
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Some books are just too good. Handling the Undead is superbly written, with beautifully drawn, fully realised characters, a lively, well-constructed narrative and a wonderfully paced and balanced plot. It's an intensely atmospheric book … it's a masterpiece, fantastically well-written and totally gripping' SFX magazine.

'It's not often I come across a writer as original, compelling or as inventive as Lindqvist … the haunting imagery stays lodged in the mind long after the book is finished' Mail On Sunday.

'Reminiscent of Stephen King at his best. Best read by sunlight' Independent on Sunday.

From the Back Cover

Something peculiar is happening. Stockholm is enduring a heatwave, electrical appliances cannot be switched off and everyone has a blinding headache. Then the terrible news breaks - in the city morgue, the dead are waking… David always knew his wife was far too good for him. But he never knew how lost he'd be without her until tonight when her car hit an elk. Now she's gone and he's alone. But when he goes to identify her body, she begins to move. It's terrifying, but it gives David a strange kind of hope. Across the city, grieving families find themselves able to see their loved-ones one last time. But are these creatures really them? How long can this last? And what does it all mean? Handling the Undead is a thrilling, shocking and moving story about a love that can defy death from the acclaimed author of Let the Right One In.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Handling the Undead
After being dazzled and intrigued by John's adaptation of his own book into the haunting film Let The Right One In, I read the book. And boy oh boy did it add to the experience, a stunning one two punch of my love of horror and vampire movies combined with a sharp poke in the heart that has left the characters living in my head ever since!

So I awaited this new book with baited breath...surely it can't live up to its predecessor!

John, you've done it again. I missed my bus stop last night as I finished the book a few minutes before and sat there in half shock, half daze. And it brought tears to my eyes, something a book has only done once or twice to me before. This author has a superb understanding of the general human psyche, its weaknesses and common hidden aspects.

I'm not sure quite how the parralel strings of story will translate into a script but I hope it's John again who does the honours, should this head for the big screen.

I can't recommend this enough...fans of Let The Right One In will relish it...for those not yet touched by its power, this will turn your heart inside out and peel a layer off your jaded eyes to the undercurrents of the world around you. OTT review? Read it and see....
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Format: Hardcover
"Handling The Undead" (which was originally called "Hanteringen Av Odöda" in Sweden) is the long second novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (and translated by Ebba Segerberg) and it centers around three couples of people, and how an extraordinary situation effects them. These three couples are David and his son Magnus, Mahler and his daughter Anna, and Elvy and her granddaughter Flora, both of whom are mildly psychic.

David is a stand-up comedian whose wife is killed in a car accident on the day of the reliving, and he is traumatized twice as he has to identify his wife's damaged body in the morgue, and he is then there when she awakes. Mahler is a photo journalist who sees the arisen dead in the hospital morgue when he realizes that his grandson, who had died previously, is probably waking up while buried in the cemetery. He then rushes to the cemetery and digs him up by hand. Then there is young Goth-girl Flora who is visiting Elvy when granddad comes home.

This novel of Sweden's great reliving takes place over the short period of a week (August 13-17). And Lindqvist's reliving aren't your garden variety zombies; only those recently dead within the last two months are those who are coming back to life. Yet, unexplained in the novel all those that die on the day after the dead's reliving and afterwards stay dead. Then there is the fact people become able to pick up the thoughts of others when they are around the reliving, which is bad news and leads to some chaos.

Lindqvist's characters all take this resurrection differently; Mahler becomes obsessive of his grandson and daughter while his daughter, who is in a deep depression over her son's death, becomes overly protective of her son.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Honest Chap's Reviews on 6 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Kindle version of the book. I'm unsure if the problems with this version are present in the print copy but if they are I am unsure how the book has garnered such high ratings.

John Ajvide Lindqvist came to our attentions as a result of Let the Right One In, a vampire novel far removed from the usual stories about blood-sucking ghouls. Handling the Undead takes this approach with another saturated genre, this time zombies. Although the general idea of the book is just as original and clever, the resulting novel is far less satisfactory.

An unusual electrical phenomenon brings the recent dead of Stockholm back to life. Via caterpillars. Yes, caterpillars. The 'reliving' are not your usual shambling, brain-eaters, however; in Handling the Undead they are confused shells, who return home on some primal impulse or memory. This, of course, causes problems for their relatives and is the main focus of the book: how would we deal with the return of a loved one who we have recently lost, especially when they are in a severe state of decomposition? There is also a psychic element botched on which I still can't fathom the reason for.

Although the idea is interesting and sound, the implementation of the story is lacking. We follow a number of story-lines but the character's paths rarely cross and when they do there is little to no impact on the adjacent story-lines contained within the book. Essentially we are reading a collection of short stories needlessly intertwined with each other.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Davis on 7 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I read this in one sitting. It isn't a horror story at all, though if you've a vivid imagination the images of the decomposing dead will put you off reading it while eating. It is a love story of the non sentimental kind, and a metaphysical investigation. The metaphysics are drawn from traditional belief systems, (can't say more without spoiling it for people yet to read it) but those systems are interpreted in a sophisticated postmodern, and beyond, manner. I appreciated the theme running throughout the book of being careful about what you think or the feelings you indulge yourself in. I also enjoyed the political correctness involved (was this a tongue in cheek jibe at postmodernism?) when the story's Swedish authorities were trying to decide what the politest correct term for the moving, talking corpses should be. I shall now immediately purchase 'Let the Right One In.' I must go now... a little white caterpillar grub has just fallen onto my computer...
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