dancing_moon: Kitty: *hugs* (*hugs*)
I bought John Ajvide Lindqvist's book Lilla Stjärna (Little Star*) months ago, read a bit and loved it. And then I lost the effing book somewhere. Looked in all the bookshelves, all my bags, at work, in the bathroom etc etc but no Little Star. Hoping that it would turn up when I moved I mentally shelved it and read other things, only occasionally wondering where the crap I managed to lose a book in my one-room apartment.

Wellp. Turns out I forgot it at mom's, in a bag beneath some papers. I found it two days ago and raced through it so I wouldn't have to wait an entire year.

Ajvide Lindqvist, for those not familiar with this exemplary good writer of modern horror, is a Swedish author who 1) scared the crap out of at least half the country with Låt den rätte komma in (Let me in) and 2) instantly made the bland Stockholm suburb Blackeberg a place as connected to vampires as the US state Maine is to murdering clowns, dogs and other unmentionable monsters from Stephen King's subconscious, in most people's opinions.

After that, he continued to turn Täby and Danderyd's sjukhus (where I have been several times) into places you cannot pass during swelteringly hot summer nights without a shiver down your spine due to the undead you know are about to wake up. Etcetera with making the archipelago of Stockholm into a potential hiding place for some rather "Old ones"-ish beings which can reanimate unruly bikers and steal children that come too near the lighthouse.

Ahem. Yes, thank you, Mr Ajvide Lindqvist, for helping to turn my mental map of Stockholm with surroundings into a far scarier place. I like you too...

In Little Star, he takes the cosyest of cosy Swedish television shows, Allsång på Skansen (which actually has an English wikipedia article, I am baffled) and the most boring of Swedish music, schlager from "Svensktoppen"* and makes it into a really HORRIFYING splatter book. With a lot of social realistic commentary, careful portrayals of painfully ordinary humans whom you still come to care for, pity and despise as they show off all their little admirable and disgusting traits.

It is also a book about bullying and how it tears into someone and twists them, killing something. It's the story about the ordinary girls and women (because although the first part of the story is much driven by a father and a son, it is really about the girl, the "little star" and the lonely, abused mother of the family. And then comes the other girl and everything really begins to take shape), the girls that weren't pretty enough but at least kept silent and were forgotten and how much that hurts. Them and those around.

It's a very sad book - it brings to mind an otherwise unmemorable book about film theory, which talked about the "elegiac mood" of some movies. The melancholia, the poem for the dead.

And that's what Lilla Stjärna is, a sad book written about those that are, either physically or spiritually dead from the very beginning of the book and how they bring over this deadness to the little girls until they are as broken as the adults around them. It is this by telling the story of an uncanny girl with the most perfect voice imaginable and the tragic massacre that happens when others keep trying to mold her into a money-making tool - and it does it very, very well.

If you can, read Lindqvist, he is one of the most interesting writers (horror and otherwise) I have encountered lately.

* as in the lullaby, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
** Svensktoppen charts the most popular Swedish music and, since it until recently only played songs in Swedish, it was dominated by "dance band" music. Which is the spiritual twin of country, basically, though they don't sound very alike.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
I really don`t have time for this (and the keyboard is borked) as I`m only supposed to check my bank account, but hot damn if John Ajvide Lindqvists Hanteringen av odöda (Handling of the undead) isn`t worth a quick rec.

It`s a much faster read than any of his books, not counting Lilla stjärna and the short story collection Pappersväggar, which I haven`t read yet. There are news items, blurbs, `cuttings` from the papers and such between the regular chapters and this really helps speed up parts that might otherwise have slogged the narrative down. And it is one AMAZING narrative. Couldn`t put it down yesternight

The dead are returning, it starts at Danderyd`s hospital and continues all over Stockholm. It`s gross, it`s creepy and it`s very, very touching. How does one deal with the loss, and flawed return, of a loved one?

Great book. could make a cool movie too, I hope they find an equally skilled director as to Let the right one in, if they do make one.

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dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
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May 2012

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