Written by: Emily Sikes
Let the right one in
Let the old dreams die
Let the wrong ones go
They cannot do
What you want them to do
—Morrissey, “Let the Right One Slip In”
Wrap that fleece blanket around your body and warm your insides with hot chocolate and chew those melted marshmallows before you pick up Linqvist’s novel Let the Right One In. If you begin to think that you left a window open or forgot to light the fireplace, know that the coldness is emanating from the book in your hands.
Blackeberg is a small suburb outside of Stockholm, Sweden that is without a history but is home to Oskar, a bullied 12-year-old boy who fantasizes about murder and collects newspaper clippings of killings. He lives in an apartment complex with his mother and has no one he can call a friend. One night on the playground near his home he meets Eli, a young girl, who is imbued with uncanny qualities: she can fall with ease from a great height, solve a Rubik’s Cube in only a couple nights, and seems to not eat food. Eli happens to live in the apartment next to Oskar with Håkan whom she claims to be her father.
The story splits with a group of friends at a pub. Jocke, the focusing character, disappears after stumbling home along an alternate route from a drinking session. This concerns Håkan because he discovers that Jocke is connected to Eli.
As you are reading you feel an underscore of dread that is persistent throughout the novel. Whenever there is a scene of violence it feels needed. Lindqvist paints a quiet but deep landscape that is staccatoed with blood and gore. However, the story is not about the butchery—it is about finding a person that you feel comfortable sharing your life with. The characters that inhabit Blackeberg are developed through their actions which make the relationships that they have with each other feel realistic. In this way, Let the Right One In is not simply a vampire story, but a love story.
About the author: When Emily Sikes is not digesting volumes of 19th century literature for her English courses at the University of New Mexico, she is busy hunting shades in dusty tomes. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime from dusk till dawn in between bouts of losing herself in the chiaroscuro corridors stalked by cats which passes for her mind. If Emily hears from you she can assure herself slightly that maybe—just maybe—that you are one of the furry shadows born from her corridors. Her dream is to live in a fire-lit library inhabited by sphinxes with vinyl records of The Cure with an unlimited supply of jasmine green tea and purple lipstick.