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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and intruiging
Harbor was an intriguing novel. When I started it, I was a little apprehensive, as I was afraid I would be too scared - remember, I'm a wimp when it comes to reading horror - but while thrilling and frightening, it didn't give me nightmares. Instead its horror started with a creeping feeling of unease, of something off and, slowly, the true threat only becomes fully clear...
Published on 4 Nov 2011 by W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed feelings
Like others here, I bought this book having enjoyed "Let the Right One In". Lindqvist has been described as Sweden's answer to Stephen King. I disagree. Both employ a kind of magical realism (a fiction in which fabulous and fantastical events sit side by side with an otherwise normal and realistic report) but whereas I can suspend belief with King and believe it is...
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by Lce


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and intruiging, 4 Nov 2011
This review is from: Harbour (Paperback)
Harbor was an intriguing novel. When I started it, I was a little apprehensive, as I was afraid I would be too scared - remember, I'm a wimp when it comes to reading horror - but while thrilling and frightening, it didn't give me nightmares. Instead its horror started with a creeping feeling of unease, of something off and, slowly, the true threat only becomes fully clear towards the end. I found myself eager to return to its pages each night and read until I had to turn off the light due to my eyes falling closed.

One of my favourite elements of this novel were the narrative structure and Lindqvist's prose. The book is set up in a double narration with switching points of view between Anders and his grandfather Simon, with interspersed breaking of the fourth wall by an unknown narrator and short pieces from the point of view of other Domarö inhabitants. I love these kinds of twined narratives, as they provide not just a way for the author to give us more information about what's going - as the saying goes: two heads always know more than one - but they also provide opportunities for miscommunication or non-communication between characters, where the reader knows more than the protagonists. Coincidentally, it can also lead to a frustrated outcry of "Why don't they just talk to each other?", but Lindqvist never falls in that trap. Yes, there is non-communication, but he allows Simon to decisively put an end to that. Lindqvist's prose, through the translation of Marlaine Delargy, is clean and clear; no purple prose here, though his descriptions of the stark and isolated landscapes and the small island community are lovely, if at times chilling.

I loved the character of Anders and I found the way Lindqvist describes his dealing with the loss of his daughter fascinating. The idea of losing one of my children - I'm already counting B2 as such, even if she isn't born yet - or my husband is my biggest nightmare and I thought Lindqvist dealt with both the madness of grief and the reshaping of memories beautifully. Anyone can picture what grief can drive someone too, whether drinking, like Anders, drugs, depression or self-harm. But I found Anders' reshaping his memories of Maja far more poignant, especially his inability to realise that he's done so until he's confronted about it by his grandparents. I think it's also something a lot of people don't realise--both that this is a natural reaction and that they've probably done the same with some of their own memories. All of this combined makes it hard to figure out whether what Anders thinks he's experiencing is true or whether they are delusions he's suffering due to too much alcohol consumption or grief.

The other main narrator is Anders' sort of grandfather. He's been together with Anders' grandmother Anna-Greta for fifty years, though they never got married and is as much a grandfather as Anders has ever known. Despite having lived on Domarö for over half a century and being partnered with the unofficial leader of the island, Simon is still an outsider in many ways, as he finds out when he discovers the island's secret. But Simon is also more than just an old, retired stage magician, he has real magic, though what kind and how he came by it, is something best left for the reader to discover themselves. I really liked Simon, he is kind, strong and tenacious and I loved his relationship with Anna-Greta.

Domarö and the sea are characters in and of themselves and are maybe the most frightening things in the book. Water can be the most destructive force on earth. It is everywhere and can penetrate everywhere. Water is patient and we humans cannot live without it. The Dutch have learnt to live with the fear of the encroaching water, to literally dam it out and in some ways to harness its amazing power, but we also know that water cannot be tamed and must always be respected. The inhabitants of Domarö respect and fear the sea in the same way, but in their need to placate the sea, they takes desperate and gruesome measures.

Harbor is a stunning story, which made for compelling reading. If you are looking for an intelligent, spooky and mostly non-gory horror tale, this third offering by Lindqvist is just the ticket. I know this first taste of his writing has left me curious for more. I have already read Niall's review of Lindqvist's latest book Little Star and that sounds as good or even better as Harbor and I look forward to checking that out in the future.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed feelings, 2 Jan 2012
By 
Lce (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harbour (Kindle Edition)
Like others here, I bought this book having enjoyed "Let the Right One In". Lindqvist has been described as Sweden's answer to Stephen King. I disagree. Both employ a kind of magical realism (a fiction in which fabulous and fantastical events sit side by side with an otherwise normal and realistic report) but whereas I can suspend belief with King and believe it is really happening, with Lindqvist I found myself thinking "this is silly". There is a story here, of Anders whose daughter Maja just disappears into thin air one day when the family walk across the frozen sea to the lighthouse at Gävasten. Much of the story is about his search for her. However, the narrative is broken frequently by flashbacks, which disrupt the flow of the story. These flashbacks are short stories in their own right and so the book becomes a series of short stories threaded onto a rather bizarre storyline. The theme can be summed up with the title of the second chapter, "The sea has given and the sea has taken away". The sea is an entity, it is alive, it is malignant. Linqvist is a beautiful writer, a real wordsmith. There are some beautiful sentences in this book and wonderful descriptions. I would have liked to have given five stars for the writing, but the story just didn't work for me. It felt like a first draft of a complicated idea. To paraphrase, the whole was not in this case, greater than the sum of its parts. There were questions left unanswered: why did Elof tell Simon to call Anders at the lighthouse on his mobile and tell him "he ought to come home now"? What was it that Maja saw from the lighthouse which caused her to run out to find, and then disappear? The suspense is set up but not carried through. And what exactly was the insect, the spiritus? What is it supposed to represent? Sadly, despite the beautiful writing, I did not much enjoy this book., it didn't work for me.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you don't expect much then you won't be disappointed!, 15 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Harbour (Paperback)
I honestly can't make up my mind whether I liked this one or not. I almost put it down a few times whilst reading it but persevered as it does have some good parts to it. If you're looking for the next 'Let The Right One In' then you will be disappointed with this one. It is more in the vein of 'Handling the Undead'. As other people have said in their reviews its about Anders and how he reacts after his daughter disappears and also follows the lives of the people on the island. Although it starts off well the book goes off on a bit of a tangent and I didn't really like the reasons behind the daughter disappearing however it is unusual and not like other books I have read. I am glad I read it as I do like the author and as I bought it through an Amazon seller as a holiday read and wasn't expecting it to be good I wasn't too disappointed with it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars harbour, 28 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Harbour (Kindle Edition)
i kept thinking subtle weirdness and horror as I read this book, subtle, because the strange happenings crept up on you,nothing was immediate and i had no idea what this story was; except it began with the disappearance of a little girl while out with her parents,an unbelievable occurrence, one moment she is there, the next she is gone,gone from a vast expanse of flat icy landscape, nowhere for her to go and hide,but something has made her vanish.At first i thought i would be reading a story of just the child and the parents,perhaps i was a bit slow to realise there was much more to this book.There are quite a few main characters, each is given his or hers story and they all come together as strong components to make it all jel.There is a slug like thing kept in a matchbox and whoever has it has to look after it in a not altogether conventional way[normally you would just give it food would`nt you? Not so.]it apparently lives on the persons spit.Weird. The story moves along very nicely and i think is brilliantly put together by the author,each persons story is quite colourful and nothing detracts from the main.There are long parts of the story that just jog along; with people living ordinary lives on an ordinary island? then something happens and you are pulled from a scene of normal-ness into the supernatural and weird.I didnt even think as i read ,where were the police? and no investigation into the child disappearance? why not,but this is a very strange island and most all know what is going on,nothing credible thats for sure, i thoroughly recommend anyone to read this book if they like a touch of the supernatural and even if you dont there is nothing here that will give you sleepless nights,but it might get you hooked that you are reluctant to put it down,Think"The Whicker Man" and you have the gist of it but not the ending, that is completely different. The comparison i make here is the best way i can find to give a small insight into "Harbour,as I have not found anything else on the market to come anywhere near close to this story, this stands out on its own and i rate it the best thing i have read for a long time
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5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC, 25 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Harbour (Kindle Edition)
This my favourite book in the world. I have it in paperback, audio and now kindle. It is just as good in this format as all the others.If you haven't read it, do it now. Its so imaginative and compelling. I'm sure you'll love it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Creeping Horror, 22 Nov 2013
By 
Brian Hamilton "brianhamilton14" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harbour (Kindle Edition)
Lindqvist came to prominence following the success of 'Let The Right One In' which was a brilliant scandi-take on the vampire novel.

Here, Lindqvist hits his form with a Lovecraft flavoured story in the strongest tradition of nautical horror. The residents of an island who, generations ago, made a pact with a supernatural undersea force, are paying the price for the deal (Shadow Over Innsmouth, anyone?).

The story is set in the present day but offers us insight into how the islanders have coped in the everyday with this horror lurking all around them. Although the human sacrifices have long since stopped, the force still requires its occasional victim. The story is set when Anders and Cecilia, an in-love couple with a precocious daughter, are torn asunder when Maja disappears off the face of the earth during a family visit to a local lighthouse.

Anders returns to the island two years later, a chain smoking, bitter, divorced alcoholic whose life is ruined.

But, as the story develops, he realises that perhaps everything is not as it appears.

From this premise Lindqvist spirals off into side stories, history of the island, the generations that lived there. It is a very heady mix written in an intimate and inclusive style, the narrative often includes phrases such as 'let us' or the word 'we.' This is a really nice touch which keeps the sense of intimacy going throughout the novel.

I won't spoil the plot here (I have probably already said too much!) but suffice to say that the characters are well written with a touch of humanity about them that is very endearing. The story will keep you turning pages until you find out what has happened to Maja.

An excellent and strong novel. Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric maritime tragedy, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Harbour (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book I have read by Lindqvist but will certainly not be the last. From the very first page you are drawn into a story full of atmosphere and sinister secrets. The author constructs a story about a community held to ransom by the elements in a way that brings to mind films like The Village and Signs. The characters are so well realised you are convinced that you have met them before. It is in essence a ghost story similar to Stephen Kings earlier works with nostalgic flashbacks to the 1980s that won't fail to put a smile on the faces of those of the era. Although a creepy and sometimes disturbing novel it's truth strength lies in the authors ability to examine the grieving process after the loss of a child. Well worth a read
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5.0 out of 5 stars swedish chiller, 14 Oct 2013
This review is from: Harbour (Hardcover)
Love this rather odd creepy book , its all about the sea having an energy and a life force of its own and the inhabitants of an island being forced into submission by their environment . Knowing the archipelago I could really visualise the landscape and Lindqvist is such a dramatic story teller . I love the way he weaves stories of the islanders past , bringing a gothic magic realism to the story , along side ghosts , hauntings , a missing child and redemption .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, if you like Stephen King, 14 Aug 2013
By 
G. Rigby "Sunsetbonce" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harbour (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading this book as I am a great fan of Stephen King ( when he is at his best), and this had a similar feel and style. The first three-quarters of the book was excellent, but it did tail off somewhat towards the end, (as books of this kind tend to do). Overall I would recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars perhaps my favourite so far, 6 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Harbour (Paperback)
although I do say that after I read each of his books. so perhaps my judgement is not to be trusted! I really really really really really like this one. Did I say I like it? There are parts of it that are perhaps a little more slow than originally intended. Of course, the pace is designed intentionally (authors DO that, you see.) but perhaps this was a translation thing into the English. I want to learn Swedish so I can read this one in particular in the original, because there is some discussion of talking about being able to speak English in this one, and I reckon it'd be fun to read that passage in Swedish.
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Harbour
Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Paperback - 26 May 2011)
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