Let the Right One In/Låt den Rätte Komma
John Ajbide Lindqvist
Let the Right One In effortlessly manages to show the creepy horrific side of vampires in great detail. Oskar is a 12-year-old boy that enjoys crime, murder, and forensics and doesn’t enjoy the constant bullying and beatings he has to endure. Things change when he makes friends with Eli, a new girl in town who is not quite what she seems. She’s odd in many ways and only comes out at night (hmm… interesting). What’s weirder still is a local teenager is murdered and bled dry, and this is only the first of many odd murders. But are the events connected? And can Eli and Oskar’s budding friendship survive the ghastly secrets that are about to come to light?
Part of the mastery of Lindqvist’s writing is in the development of his characters. Everyone from vampire, to children, to a group of village drunks, has a dark side. The way “normal” people treat each other is just as horrific as Eli treats victims in her need for blood. Not just vampires are creepy, but the whole town of Blackeberg, Sweden is under this grey pall of misery. That environment adds realism to Lindqvist’s story that runs throughout the entire story. There might be a town like Blackeberg somewhere in the world, and that’s the scariest truth of all.
Sidenote: since I don’t speak Swedish, I didn’t read the original Lindqvist text, and usually when I read translations I can’t help but feel like something is lost in translation. However, that was not the case with Let the Right One In. The translator, Ebba Segerberg, does a great job conveying the creepy and eerie atmosphere of the novel. So, kudos.
Everything was so different at night. The photo shop, florist, and clothing store in the station were dark. The ticket collector sat with his feet up on the counter, reading something. So quiet. The clock on the wall said a few minutes past two. He should be lying in bed now. Sleeping. Should at the very least be sleepy. But no. he was so tired his body felt hollow, but it was a hollowness filled with electricity. Not sleepiness.