Saturday, 10 September 2011

Handling the Undead

Stockholm is in the grip of a heatwave and strange things are happening. Electrical appliances won't turn off, everyone has headaches and the recently dead are starting to come back to life. Not the average zombie story, John Ajvide Lindqvist has taken the time to think about the emotional aspects of zombies actually being loved ones. David has lost his wife in a car crash but can't bring himself to tell his son that she's either dead or undead. Mahler lost his grandson, Anna her son, two months before and are still struggling to come to terms with his death. To both families, the zombies are not some horror film come to life but a chance to hope that there is life after death.

It's really quite a moving and thought-provoking book. The reliving are still corpses but animated somehow. They are not out to eat brains but understandably people are scared of them. If it is one of the people you love most in the world, what can you do but carry on loving them? Fear and hatred can only have negative consequences but what happens if we can be compassionate...

Translated from the original Swedish by Ebba Segerberg, there are a few clunky sentences and odd phrases but not enough to get in the way of the powerful storytelling. It's not all action but a much more introspective, quiet book that I feel would even appeal to readers who don't like zombies.

Thanks go to Quercus for providing me with a copy for review. You can buy it now in paperback and ebook formats.

3 comments:

  1. A new Lindqvist book. I'm there. I haven't seen this in American bookstores yet, but I'll be looking now.

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  2. I definitely really liked this one. I think it had a different enough tone and message to be unique.

    Thanks for pointing out that blog post -- it's always interesting to hear the writer's thoughts like that.
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  3. I really enjoyed this one, but I didn't love it as much as Let the Right One In which I loved to pieces :-)

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