Let the Right One In (3 stars)


Let the Right One In (Quercus)


Swedish magician turned stand-up comedian turned novelist John Ajvide Lindqvist’s first book features numerous sleight-of-hand tricks and sly jokes. In the opening chapter the reader is wrongfooted about the fate of the protagonist, Oskar, an introverted 12-year-old boy who befriends his new neighbour, a young girl named Eli who’s actually a vampire (aged 200). What follows is a freakish love story in which Oskar finds there’s more to life than the living.

Although there are shades of Anne Rice in Lindqvist’s debut, it’s as much about being an outsider railing against conformity as it is about blood draining (hence the title riff on the Morrissey song ‘Let the Right One Slip In’). The miserable Stockholm suburb Blackeberg in which Oskar exists (and where Lindqvist grew up) proves to be a greater threat to the soul’s wellbeing than the pointy-toothed interloper, and it provides plenty of material for Lindqvist’s sharp social commentary.

(Miles Fielder)

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