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A Parrot among Crows

Let the Right One In

Lindquist, John Ajvide

Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2007

ISBN: 978 0 312 35529 6

Pre-movie

You may know this movie as ‘Let Me In’, but it’s the Swedish version (the original version, I should add), which has been sitting in the pile of ‘to be watched’ DVD’s for a good long time.  We’re terrible at that kind of thing, the Lad and I – we have probably about seven movies sitting in the pile next to the TV at the moment.  I prefer to look at it as ‘seasoning’ them, but I don’t know what I’m seasoning them for exactly… still, to get back on topic, I didn’t even know this was a book until I found it by accident while looking through horror stuff at the Book Depository.  Since I knew it was a movie already I tried desperately not to get the edition with the movie poster as it’s cover (God, I hate that.  I mean, it was a book before it was a movie, right?  So why would you need a whole new cover for it? Are people that lazy that they don’t recognise a movie is taken from a book unless it has a dirty great movie poster on it?  Okay… climbing down off my hobby horse now.  I promise.), but I failed and settled for the movie poster version.

So, I don’t know, I may have jinxed myself out of liking this movie by being determined to read the book first.  I guess I just didn’t want to be seeing the actors from the movie in my head – particularly Håken post-acid-face.  There were a couple of really beautiful scenes in this book, so I could see why whoever it was wanted to make a movie about it; particularly the scene with Oskar and the school group on the ice when the body is discovered, and the scene in the church with Tommy and the saltpetre in the baptismal font.  But tone is always the thing, don’t you think?  I mean, when you’re reading a book, the thing that either leaves me cold or makes me keep reading is the tone, the feeling around the edges of the events.  Ugh, you know, that’s a phrase that I use a lot, ‘feeling around the edges’, but it’s the only real way that I can think of to describe that sort of thing.  It’s like an emotion that’s not directly described, it’s just there, and in Let the Right One In, it’s a feeling of desolation, of loneliness and the desire for a connection, almost at whatever cost.

Okay, okay, so it’s also a vampire book.  What is it with ladies and the fanged ones, eh?  I have to say that I am no exception to the craze of vampires, though I like to think that I was kind of riding the wave before they became cool.  Hopeless justification, but hey.  And just to get this out in the open, yes, I have read Twilight, and I seem to be powerless to resist Sookie and the Bon Temps gang, but mostly that’s just romance dressed up in horror drag – sort of like those cute zombie cheerleader outfits you see around now we’re approaching Hallowe’en.  This is not that.  Not at all.

I don’t feel like I can comment too much on the writing style of this book because of the translation issue. Just so you know,  this version was translated by Ebba Segerberg in 2007. I mean, how can you say that something is well written when all you have to go on is the translated version?  It’s enough to me that the story was compelling, and thought provoking, which isn’t something you can say about a lot of books that come under the Fanged Canon.  It’s a pretty intricate plot, with a lot of seemingly unconnected characters who are swirled up in several violent events.  So I’m slightly concerned about how that plot is going to suffer being told in only115 minutes.  We’ll see though.

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