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Let the Right One in Paperback – 9 Oct 2008


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Paperback, 9 Oct 2008
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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Griffin; Mti edition (9 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312355297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312355296
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.1 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Dr.Feelgood on 26 May 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let The Right One In, the English translation of the novel Låt Den Rätte Komma In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, is a vampire novel that has as much to do with the rites of passage one young Swedish boy passes through as it does with the existence of the undead and their feeding practices. Oskar, a 12-year-old boy dealing the problems of verbal and physical bullying and the consequent incontinence he suffers from, is desperately in need of a friend. He takes refuge in his imagined alter ego - an unafraid Oskar who kills his tormentors - and takes out his anger by stabbing trees in the woods near his home. Then, one night, Eli appears, a girl of the same age who he soon discovers to be a 200-year-old vampire. Meanwhile, a series of strange killings are taking place in the neighbourhood.

The narrative cuts between the lives of Oskar and his blossoming romance with Eli, his teenage acquaintance Tommy, and a group of alcoholics and unemployed semi-drifters who are the victims of the attacks.
The story is, without doubt, riveting - but only really takes flight in the latter half. The author spends the first hundred pages establishing a background, which can often feel sluggish, as the constant cut between narrative voices results in a plot which takes far longer to establish than it should. There are strange ticks in the writing - such as Lindqvist's tendency to italicise all his narrators' fragmented thoughts in a way that is almost artistic but more often irritating - and the author frequently strays into territory regarding Eli's past that leaves explanation or elaboration lacking and ultimately seems unnecessary.

The drive that the story maintains after the inital background compensates for the failed attempts at stylistic prowess.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Philtrum on 1 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a grim (from the social realism point of view) vampire novel set in a working-class area of Stockholm in the early 80s, told from the point of view of 12-year-old Oskar.

Oskar lives with his mother (who's rarely around). His alcoholic father is estranged. He befriends Eli, a child of (apparently) similar age, who lives nearby and is looked after by Hakan, a middle-aged man with a seedy past.

Oskar is bullied at school. The story is set in a down-at-heel neighbourhood - somewhat at odds with the IKEA-like, ultra-clean, ultra-modern Sweden we all think we know - and most of the characters are beaten down in one way or another.

A secondary plot concerns a group of chain-smoking alcoholics who struggle, through an alcoholic fog, to make sense of the grisly murders which are occurring.

The vampire side of the story is actually fairly minimal. There's certainly very little `lore' involved. The story, really, seems to be more about the seedy underbelly of early 80s, urban Swedish culture.

It's not long since I read Jenni Fagan's The Panopticon which covered rather similar territory (without the supernatural elements). I wasn't really in the mood for another story in the "gritty realism" mould, so Let The Right One In was tough going at times.
Another problem I had with the book was that it was difficult to feel any sympathy (or, indeed, empathy) with any of the characters. Even though Oskar is bullied, and one ought to feel for him, the author is at pains to show us what dark thoughts he has himself. His parents merit no sympathy. Eli is not one of those vampires who appears to have given much thought to their predicament or situation, and readers will have little reason to sympathise. Hakan is a monster full stop.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Alma on 11 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Let the right one in caught my attention because a film based on this book did win several awards and is now considered one of the best vampire movies of the past decades. So, before watching the film, I decided to read the book and I must say it took me by surprise.

The story is centered on the 12-year-old Oskar, a lonely kid who finds the perfect companion, a 12 girl who has recently moved next-door and turns out to be a vampire. But this is much more than your typical vampire story. It's a beautiful and disturbing tale describing the love, loneliness and violent reality of its characters. Also, as strange as it may sound, it feels very real and has some creepy moments that really stay in your mind.

I strongly suggest that you read this book and then see the original Swedish film (because there is an American remake on the way).
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Mankin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I have only ever read three horror novels, two of which became too boring to finish (lumpen prose, clunky dialogue etc). As with one of the other reviewers I wouldn't classify this as horror, rather it is more of a fable that is set against the underbelly of Swedish society. The setting is a 'sink' estate and at the core of the novel is a highly unusual relationship between a boy and a girl (I'll say no more than this). The writing is crisp and fluent, and the story unfolds at a satisfying pace. The injection of Scandanvian humour gives the novel a sardonic edge. Highly readable, this is a very orginal take on vampires that focuses on human failings and the power of friendship.
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