Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vampire book-o-rama #1: Let the Right One In

"Let the Right One In" by John Ajvide Lindqvist

When I made my list of vampire books as suggestions for October's book club, and this was top of the list. I saw the movie a few years ago ... or, specifically, Dec. 6, 2008. My description included the words "strange," "interesting," "oddly" and "quiet."

I wished, when reading the book, that I hadn't seen the movie. Although it's not an exact reproduction, the movie is quite faithful, at least on most of the action points in the plot. The pedophilia is less explicit in the movie, and I don't recall there being any explanation of how Eli became a vampire - although, to be honest, the explanation in the book is less an explanation and more of a memory of an event that happened just before the transformation and doesn't really cover the turning itself. Plus, I don't remember the gender issue really being brought up in the film.

More than anything, I was really disturbed by the scene with the cats attacking. I couldn't decide where my sympathies lie. The cats themselves were disturbing enough, but I felt terrible for their owner, Gösta, who loved them. And of course Virginia didn't want to be there, didn't want to kill Gösta, but didn't feel like she had another option. And poor Lacke, trying to save Virginia. The poor, poor cats.

I'm not sure if it's the writer or the translator, but I found some of the writing to be a little stiff and odd. Of course, it could be a cultural/language thing. It didn't especially take me out of the story it was generally compelling enough to keep me interested. As I said, though, if I hadn't known the basic story of what was going to happen I think I would have enjoyed it more.

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