Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Lindqvist writes atmospheric, moody, and mildly cerebral horror set in Sweden. After his excellent work, Let the Right One In, I was eager to read more. I read Harbor in early summer, mostly while sitting beside the ocean in a place where the population has exactly the kind of abusive loving relationship with the sea that the residents of “The Harbor” enjoy.

The remote village of wherever in Sweden sits on an isolated island, far from the bustle of Stockholm. The residents are mostly fisherman, Coast Guard, lighthouse keepers, or smugglers, all of whom make their living from the sea in one way or another. And it seems that the sea is extracting a toll for its bounty…

The characters are less sordid than those in Let the Right One In, but no less tragic, brokedown shells. The writing is breezy, even in translation, though I cannot recall anything particularly inspired in Lindqvist’s language.

I like the Swedish darkness and the superb way in which Lindqvist uses setting to establish a consistent tone and theme. I’m eager to read more of what he writes, and I need to remember to ask my new friend, The Viking, about how Swedes perceive his work. 

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