Friday, 14 August 2009
Drive by book review: Let the Right One In by Kåre Hedebrant
I’m not sure if anyone has heard of this Swedish film in North America, but I think it left an impression on British filmgoers. It is dark, sad, amusing and gruesome. Dave and I saw it in a tiny indie movie theatre and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a few other viewers watching and I was aghast that they snickered at some horrific parts, but overall, I thought it was brilliant. So when I saw the book at our fave DVD store, I bought it without hesitation.
Super fast summary: The story tells the tale of the burgeoning relationship between a child-vampire (Eli) and a bullied boy (Oskar) set in a rather depressing part of Sweden. It’s a multi-voiced narrative that paints a picture of the intertwining lives of Eli’s caretaker, Oskar’s bullies and a few other characters who all play a role during the dark winter days that see murders, loneliness, paedophilia and love. But the main story is the development of the friendship between Eli and Oskar.
What I thought: Though some of the themes were fairly dark and some aspects were a bit nauseating, I thought Let the Right One In was extremely well written. I respected Hedebrant’s ability to tell several stories at once without weakening the arch of the plot and ultimately reach a satisfying, albeit violent, conclusion. I used to read vampire novels back in the day but haven’t read one in about 15 years (and I’m not going to start on Twilight, thanks.) For me, this was certainly the darkest of the genre, but oddly, the most human. If you don’t mind a bit of fantasy and violence and are more interested in the relational aspects of human nature, then you’d probably enjoy this.