Reading Corner | Let the Right one In
Some notes on the novel “Let the Right one In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist
I have been travelling a lot the past couple of weeks, but thanks to my long commutes, I was still able to finish Let the Right one In (this might be the only perk of train commutes), which I found to be intensely creepy in a good way.
I got interested in this book when I watched the Swedish movie with the same title: I appreciated the cold, matter-of-factly environment and direction, and wanted to know more about the characters, especially Eli. Books are also generally more satisfying than their movie counterparts for me, and since I enjoyed the film, I thought I would also like the book.
Turns out I was right: I really loved the book! The prose is as surgically cold and matter-of-factly as the film direction was, and it fits the genre perfectly: the horror and horrific scenes (not necessarily all supernatural related) are chilling and definitely made me tense and cringe while I was reading – which is a good sign for a horror book. Also, the older I get, the more I appreciate dry and direct prose, and the style of this book is definitely dry and direct, though not without its poetry.
The novel isn't just a great horror novel with a very original, modern take on vampires. It is also a glimpse of the lives of people struggling with loneliness, depression, and with growing up and living in a world they don't fit in.
The characterisation is so good, it allowed me to live the lives of the characters as I was reading, and this book had me experience a full range of emotions: fear, disgust, sadness, but also tenderness.
It kind of reminded of the parallels between “supernatural horror” and “real life horror” that I love in Stephen King's books, and of course I appreciated this aspect a lot.
This book isn't a pleasant read at all, but definitely in a good way. I am happy I stumbled upon the movie and decided to also read the novel.
Next on my list:
- The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson