May 22nd, 2009


Say I can come in! (51)

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Lolita reversed;
Humbert kills to bring her blood.
The boy asks her in.

Hands down the best thing about this book is that is makes turning into a vampire something you definately do not want. LA Banks, in a blurb, called it "Anne Riceian" which is...absolutely isn't? Unless LA Banks was using code for Queer, which it sort of is. More on that in a tick. There is very little glamour in the vampiric condition here-- Eli, the vampire, relies on her slave (a pedophile fixated on her) to kill for her to get blood. The killings are handled, well...plausibly. The police are inevitably narrowing in, there is media sensationalism since there is a serial killer on the loose-- killing people is hard work. Or rather, getting away with it is. Eli is dirty, doesn't wash herself, or change clothes, until she starts bonding with the protagonist, Oskar. She's strong, superhumanly strong, but not Superman; you could kick her off a victim, for instance. Sunlight burns you. You start falling apart without human blood, which isn't easy to get. Nope, all in all being a bloodsucker is not an entry into an elite supernatural cadre-- it just sucks.

The setting is bleak ole Europe. Sweden. Stolkholm! Blackeberg. Most of the cast are destitute; a fair number of them are jobless alcoholics. Bums with government shelters. That sort of thing. Oskar, the main character, is the target of bullies, a pants-wetter, a fat nerd. He starts coming around, but sort of backslides at the end. The pedophile is...well, he's pretty disgusting, isn't he? & gets more disgusting in the course of the story. Eli isn't kept a total mystery; her creation story gets spooled out for you. On that subject: what the heck? The twist with Eli? I don't really know what its point in the story was. At least it wasn' didn't become the focus of the relationship. I don't know what it says about the story & gender-- I mean, the book is so over overwhelmingly male? Just an odd turn of events. Well. Now I'm amped to watch the movie-- Leigh sent us a copy a long time ago that I put off till now.
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