Ajvide Lindqvist, John 1968–
Ajvide Lindqvist, John 1968–
Born 1968, in Blackeberg, Sweden.
Agent—Leonhardt and Høier Literary Agency, A/S Studiestræde 35, DK-1455 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Writer. Worked for twelve years as stand-up comedian. Also worked as magician. Appeared on television program Store Studio, 2005.
Låt den rätte komma in (novel; title means "Let the Right One Slip In"; also see below), Ordfront (Stockholm, Sweden), 2004, English translation by Ebba Segerberg published as Let Me In, St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2007, published as Let the Right One In, Quercus (London, England), 2007.
Hanteringen av Odöda (novel; title means "Handling the Undead"), Ordfront (Stockholm, Sweden), 2005, English translation published as Handling the Undead, Quercus (London, England), 2008.
Pappersäggar (short story collection; title means "Paper Walls"), Ordfront (Stockholm, Sweden), 2006.
Låt den rätte komma in (screenplay, based on novel of the same name), EFTI, 2008.
Also writer for Swedish television series Reuter & Skoog, 1999, and television miniseries Kommissionen, 2005. Author of stage plays.
Short story "Majken" was adapted into a short film, with screenplay by Helene Lindholm, directed by Andrea Östlund, and released in Sweden in 2008.
John Ajvide Lindqvist writes stories of supernatural creatures such as vampires and zombies. A former magician and stand-up comic, Ajvide Lindqvist wrote for the stage, television, and other comedians before producing his first novel, Låt den rätte komma in, a vampire tale published in the United States as Let Me In and in some other English-speaking countries as Let the Right One In. As various critics have pointed out, the novel features an unusual type of vampire: in contrast to the romantic and glamorous figures created by some authors, Let Me In protagonist Eli is an impoverished twelve-year-old girl living with a pedophile guardian in the early 1980s in Blackeberg, Sweden, the nondescript suburb of Stockholm where Ajvide Lindqvist grew up.
Ajvide Lindqvist's youth in Blackeberg informs the novel, noted Daniel Stacey in an article for the Weekend Australian. "This desire to explode the dull concrete dimensions of his suburban life was something that haunted Lindqvist even from his earliest years," Stacey related. "As his dust-jacket biography states, he has always wanted to become something ‘awful and fantastic.’" The author told Stacey that writing Let Me In was "to a certain extent therapeutic. I was writing and dealing with my own childhood, and getting to rip the heads off my tormentors."
Eli is certainly a tormented character, having been taken from her mother many years earlier and now sharing a dreary apartment with Håkan, a middle-aged man who kills to obtain blood for her and expects she will repay him by becoming his sexual partner. Eli eventually befriends another tormented youngster, Oskar, who lives next door with his mother. Oskar suffers abuse by bullies at school, is haunted by thoughts of the father who left him, and has an obsession with murder. He collects newspaper stories about brutal killings, steals knives, and fantasizes about taking revenge on his schoolmates. Oskar lets Eli into his apartment and his life; the book's title refers to the belief that vampires must have permission to enter a home. (The title also refers to a song by popular musician Morrissey, "Let the Right One Slip In"; the book's Swedish title is a translation of this phrase, and the Morrissey song deals with opening one's heart and mind to new people and new dreams.) Once Oskar lets Eli in, she urges him to fight back against his bullying peers. Violence soon begets violence, with a rash of gory murders around their town.
Several reviewers found Let Me In an unconventional, compelling tale. It is not only "a grisly horror-filled mystery and a very touching and human love story, it also boasts wonderfully dry, black humour," observed Simon Clews in the Age. Stacey described the work as "brilliant and unexpected," with an "offbeat exploration of fear and the meaning of violence." Clews further praised its "tight narrative and perfectly drawn characters," and thought it might be the best book of the year. Frieda Murray, writing in Booklist, commented that Ajvide Lindqvist "develops the plot in rich detail." Tony Owens, a critic for the Web site HorrorScope, likewise deemed the characters and settings well-delineated, and he remarked that the author shows sympathy for "even the most reprehensible" of his creations.
A contributor to another online site, Love Vampires, called the work "an unusual blend of social novel and vampire horror" and noted that "all the vampire clichés are thrown away." Clews also saw "strong cinematic possibilities" in the novel—which Ajvide Lindqvist did go on to adapt into a film—and pronounced Ebba Segerberg's English translation "faultless," helping to make Let Me In a genuinely gripping read.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Age (Melbourne, Australia), Simon Clews, "Sinking Your Teeth into a Vampiric Love Story," section A2, p. 23.
Booklist, September 1, 2007, Frieda Murray, review of Let Me In, p. 65.
Bulletin with Newsweek, March 13, 2007, review of Let the Right One In, p. 60.
Variety, February 18, 2008, Alissa Simon, review of Let the Right One In (film), p. 33.
Weekend Australian, August 11, 2007, Daniel Stacey, "Just an Ordinary Vampire," Review section, p. 12.
BookLore Review,http://www.booklore.co.uk/ (July 31, 2008), review of Let the Right One In.
Eurocrime,http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/ (July 31, 2008), Mike Ripley, review of Let the Right One In.
HorrorScope,http://ozhorrorscope.blogspot.com/ (July 31, 2008), Tony Owens, review of Let the Right One In.
Internet Movie Database,http://imdb.com/ (July 31, 2008), list of works.
Leonhardt and Høier Literary Agency Web site,http://www.leonhardt-hoier.dk/ (July 31, 2008), author profile.
Love Vampires,http://www.lovevampires.com/ (July 31, 2008), review of Let Me In.
Ordfront Föutrlag Web site,http://www.ordfront.se/ (July 31, 2008), brief biography.
Paranormal & Urban Fantasy—B&N Book Clubs,http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/ (July 31, 2008), Derek Tatum, review of Let Me In.
Reader's Corner Reviews,http://readerscornerreviews.blogspot.com/ (July 31, 2008), review of Let the Right One In.