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LET ME IN by John Ajvide Lindqvist


by John Ajvide Lindqvist & translated by Ebba Segerberg

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-312-35528-9
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Part revenge fantasy, part horror story and part police investigation gone wrong, this debut vampire novel translated from the Swedish sinks its fangs into fresh territory.

It is 1981 in a Stockholm suburb, and 12-year-old Oskar is the epitome of a bully's victim: He’s a fat little know-it-all who suffers from incontinence and periodic nosebleeds. His life changes when Eli, an astonishingly beautiful but unkempt girl, and her father Hakan move in next door. With her encouragement, Oskar somehow finds the strength to begin striking back at his tormentors. But Eli is no true child; she is a 220-year-old vampire, and her so-called “father” is actually a pedophile who demonstrates his frighteningly obsessive devotion to Eli by anesthetizing young boys, draining their blood and bringing them back to her when she’s too weak to hunt for herself. A blunder by Hakan, Eli’s advice to Oskar and the vengeance sought by a friend of one of Eli’s victims all inevitably lead to tragedy—or triumph, depending on the perspective. Although it does have its grotesque, over-the-top moments, the book is wonderfully bleak and spare. Unlike Anne Rice’s hedonistic bloodsuckers, Lundqvist’s vampires are sad, lonely creatures who simply want to survive, taking little pleasure in what is required to do so. If there is one complaint, it is that the author sets the book entirely in the fall, and so cannot exploit the obvious advantages and disadvantages of being a Swedish vampire—24-hour darkness during winter, but midnight sun in summer.

Worth taking a bite.