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Let the Right One In Paperback – 22 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 519 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; Film Tie-in Ed edition (22 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847248489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847248480
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A whiff of the new Stephen King. Don't miss it' The Times.

'A terrifying supernatural story yet also a moving account of friendship and salvation' Guardian.

'Some truly scary bits ... will haunt your dreams. Best read by sunlight' Independent on Sunday.

'Lindqvist has reinvented the vampire novel and made it all the more chilling by setting it in the kind of sink estate we all know from the media. Immensely readable and highly disturbing' Daily Express.

From the Back Cover

Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends. And how they came to depend on one another, for life itself. Oskar is a 12-year-old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city's edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he's frightened. Eli is the young girl who moves in next door. She doesn't go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200-year-old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Rutter on 13 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
John Ajvide Lindqvist takes us to a dark place, a suburbia where disparate characters are thrown into each other's lives and vices are explored. Oskar is a young boy, bullied constantly, dreaming of killing his persecutors. One night he meets the mysterious Eli, and the two children gradually build up a delicate and tenuous friendship. As a backdrop to this, we watch as murders are committed and the people of Blackeberg come to realise that they are haunted by a vampire.

On the face of this, Let The Right One In is a horror story about a vampire - but it does not take long for the reader to recognise that this is, in fact, a story exploring the monstrousness of human beings. The latent urge in all humans to commit monstrous acts. We have alcoholics, drug takers, paedophiles and bullies. In that company, the vampire turns out to be the most compassionate and reasonable character.

The prose is both visceral and staccato, with a deeply tragic air right from the first word. And yet it still manages to evoke a feeling of hope, and establishes that acceptance and friendship can succeed in saving a young man's life.

Despite the aforementioned staccato rhythm, the story unwinds with a slow deliberate menace. It starts with a searing picture of a victim of extreme bullying: "Let them think someone had been killed here, because someone had been killed here. And for the hundredth time..." Gradually the story presents us with some grisly pictures of a man with his face burned away by acid, blood pouring from every pore of a vampire, cats attacking a woman. And yet it is still those shocking moments of human cruelty that strike the hardest and make you vulnerable to the power of this book's prose.
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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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3 of 3 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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