“John Ajvide Lindqvist is rightly seen as one of the most exciting writers working in the horror genre at the moment – a rival, indeed, to Stephen King.” TheScotsman.com
From the author of the international and New York Times bestseller Let the Right One In (Let Me In) comes this stunning and terrifying book which begins when a man's six-year-old daughter vanishes.One ordinary winter afternoon on a snowy island, Anders and Cecilia take their six-year-old daughter Maja across the ice to visit the lighthouse in the middle of the frozen channel. While the couple explore the lighthouse, Maja disappears either into thin air or under thin ice leaving not even a footprint in the snow. Two years later, alone and more or less permanently drunk, Anders returns to the island to regroup. He slowly realises that people are not telling him all they know; even his own mother, it seems, is keeping secrets. What is happening in Domaro, and what power does the sea have over the town's inhabitants?
As he did with Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead, John Ajvide Lindqvist serves up a blockbuster cocktail of suspense in a narrative that barely pauses for breath.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.54(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.52(d)|
About the Author
John Ajvide Lindqvist is the author of Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead. Let The Right One In, his debut novel, was an instant bestseller in Sweden and was named Best Novel in Translation 2005 in Norway. The Swedish film adaptation, directed by Tomas Alfredsson, has won top honors at film festivals all over the globe, including Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. An American remake, Let Me In, written and directed by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves, was released in October 2010 to rave reviews. Lindqvist grew up in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm and the setting for Let the Right One In. Wanting to become something awful and fantastic, he first became a conjurer, and then was a stand-up comedian for twelve years. He has also written for Swedish television. He lives in Sweden.
Read an Excerpt
By John Ajvide Lindqvist
Thomas Dunne BooksCopyright © 2011 John Ajvide Lindqvist
All right reserved.
Welcome to Domarö.
It’s a place you won’t find on any maritime chart, unless you look really carefully. It lies just about two nautical miles east of Refsnäs in the archipelago in southern Roslagen, a considerable distance in from Söderarm and Tjärven.
You will need to move some of the islands out of the way, create empty expanses of water between them in order to catch sight of Domarö. Then you will also be able to see the lighthouse at Gåvasten, and all the other landmarks that arise in this story.
Arise, yes. That’s the right word. We will be in a place that is new to people. For tens of thousands of years it has been lying beneath the water. But then the islands rise up and to the islands come the people, and with the people come the stories. Let us begin. 1 Banished Where the waves thunder and the storms cry.
Where the breakers crash and the salt water whirls,
that is where the place that is ours rises from the sea.
The legacy that passes from father to son.
Lennart Albinsson—Rådmansö The sea has given and the sea has taken away Who flies there in the feather-harbour, who climbs up there out of the black, shining waters?
Sea buckthorn Three thousand years ago, Domarö was nothing but a large, flat rock sticking up out of the water, crowned by an erratic boulder the ice had left behind. One nautical mile to the east it was possible to glimpse the round shape that would later rise out of the sea and be given the name Gåvasten. Apart from that, there was nothing. It would be another thousand years before the surrounding islets and islands dared to poke their heads above the water, beginning the formation of the archipelago that goes under the name of Domarö archipelago today. By that time the sea buckthorn had already arrived on Domarö.
Down below the enormous block left by the ice, a shoreline had formed. There in the scree the sea buckthorn worked its way along with its creeping roots, the hardy shrub finding nourishment in the rotting seaweed, growing where there was nothing to grow in, clinging to the rocks. Sea buckthorn. Toughest of the tough.
And the sea buckthorn produced new roots, crept up over the water’s edge and grew on the slopes until a metallic-green border surrounded the uninhabited shores of Domarö like a fringe. Birds snatched the fiery yellow berries that tasted of bitter oranges and flew with them to other islands, spreading the gospel of the sea buckthorn to new shores, and within a few hundred years the green fringe could be seen in all directions.But the sea buckthorn was preparing its own destruction.
The humus formed by its rotting leaves was richer than anything the stony shores could offer, and the alder saw its chance. It set its seeds in the mulch left by the sea buckthorn, and it grew stronger and stronger. The sea buckthorn was unable to tolerate either the nitrogenrich soil produced by the alder, or the shade from its leaves, and it withdrew down towards the water.
With the alder came other plants that needed a higher level of nutrition, competing for the available space. The sea buckthorn was relegated to a shoreline that grew far too slowly, just half a metre in a hundred years. Despite the fact that it had given birth to the other plants, the sea buckthorn was displaced and set aside. And so it sits there at the edge of the shore, biding its time. Beneath the slender, silky green leaves there are thorns. Big thorns.
Two small people and a large rock (July 1984) They were holding hands.
He was thirteen and she was twelve. If anyone in the gang caught sight of them, they would just die right there on the spot. They crept through the fir trees, alert to every sound and every movement as if they were on some secret mission. In a way they were: they were going to be together, but they didn’t know that yet.
It was almost ten o’clock at night, but there was still enough light in the sky for them to see each other’s arms and legs as pale movements over the carpet of grass and earth still holding the warmth of the day. They didn’t dare look at each other’s faces. If they did, something would have to be said, and there were no words.
They had decided to go up to the rock. A little way along the track between the fir trees their hands had brushed against each other’s, and one of them had taken hold, and that was it. Now they were holding hands. If anything was said, something straightforward would become difficult.
Anders’ skin felt as if he had been out in the sun all day. It was hot and painful all over, and he felt dizzy, as if he had sunstroke; he was afraid of tripping over a root, afraid of his hand becoming sweaty, afraid that what he was doing was out of order in some way.
There were couples in the gang. Martin and Malin were together now. Malin had gone out with Joel for a while. It was OK for them to lie there kissing when everybody could see them, and Martin said he and Malin had got as far as petting down by the boathouses. Whether or not it was true, it was OK for them to say—and do—that kind of thing. Partly because they were a year older, partly because they were good-looking. Cool. It gave them licence to do a lot of things, and to use a different language too. There was no point in trying to keep up, that would be embarrassing. You just had to sit there staring, trying to laugh in the right places. That’s just how it was.
Neither Anders nor Cecilia was a loser. They weren’t outsiders like Henrik and Björn—Hubba and Bubba—but they weren’t part of the clique that made the rules and decided which jokes were funny, either.
For Anders and Cecilia to be walking along holding hands was utterly ridiculous. They knew this. Anders was short and borderline spindly, his brown hair too thin for him to give it any kind of style.
He didn’t understand how Martin and Joel did it. He’d tried slicking his hair back with gel once, but it looked weird and he’d rinsed it out before anyone saw it.There was something flat about Cecilia. Her body was angular and her shoulders were broad, despite the fact that she was slim.
Virtually no hips or breasts. Her face looked small between those broad shoulders. She had medium-length fair hair and an unusually small nose dusted with freckles. When she put her hair up in a ponytail,
Anders thought she looked really pretty. Her blue eyes always looked just a little bit sad, and Anders liked that. She looked as if she knew.
Martin and Joel didn’t know. Malin and Elin didn’t know. They had the feeling, said the right things and were able to wear sandals without looking stupid. But they didn’t know. They just did things. Sandra read books and was clever, but there was nothing in her eyes to indicate that she knew.
Cecilia knew, and Anders could see that she knew, which proved that he knew as well. They recognised one another. He couldn’t explain what it was that they knew, but it was something. Something about life, about how things really were.
The terrain grew steeper, and as they made their way up towards the rock the trees thinned out. In a minute or two they would have to let go of one another’s hands so they’d be able to climb.
Anders stole a glance at Cecilia. She was wearing a yellow and white striped T-shirt with a wide neckline that revealed her collarbone. It was just unbelievable that she had been linked to him for what must be five minutes, that her skin had been touching his.
That she’d been his.
She had been his for five minutes. Soon they would let go, move apart and become ordinary people again. What would they say then?
Anders looked down. The ground was starting to become stony, he had to watch where he was putting his feet. Every second he was expecting Cecilia to let go, but she didn’t. He thought perhaps he was holding on so tightly that she couldn’t let go. It was an embarrassing thought, so he loosened his grip slightly. Then she let go.
He spent the two minutes it took to climb up the rock analysing whether he had, in fact, been holding her hand too tightly, or whether loosening his grip had made her think he was about to let go, and so she let go first.Regardless of what he knew or did not know, he was convinced that Joel and Martin never had this kind of problem. He wiped his hand furtively on his trousers. It was slightly stiff and sweaty.
When they reached the top of the rock, his head felt bigger than usual. The blood was humming in his ears and he was sure his face was bright red. He stared down at his chest where a little ghost looked out from a circle with a red line through it. Ghostbusters. It was his favourite top, and it had been washed so many times that the outline of the ghost was becoming blurred.
‘It’s so beautiful.'Cecilia was standing at the edge of the rock looking out over the sea. They were up above the tops of the trees. Far below they could see the holiday village where almost all their friends lived. Out at sea the ferry to Finland was sailing along, a cluster of lights moving across the water. Further away and further out there were other archipelagos whose names Anders didn’t know.
He stood as close to her as he dared and said, ‘I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world,’ and regretted it as soon as the words were out of his mouth. It was a stupid thing to say, and he tried to improve matters by adding, ‘That’s one way of looking at it’, but that wasn’t right either. He moved away from her, following the edge of the rock.
When he had walked all the way round, a distance of perhaps thirty metres, and was almost back with her, she said, ‘It’s odd, isn’t it? This rock, I mean?’
He had an answer to that. ‘It’s an erratic boulder. According to my dad, anyway.’
He gazed out across the sea, fixed his eyes on the Gåvasten lighthouse and tried to remember what his father had told him. Anders made a sweeping movement with his arm, taking in the surrounding area. The old village, the mission, the alarm bell next to the shop.
‘Well…when there was ice. Covering everything here. The ice age. The ice picked up rocks. And when it melted, these rocks ended up all over the place.’
‘So where did they come from? Originally?’
His father had told him that as well, but he couldn’t remember what he’d said. Where could the stones have come from? He shrugged his shoulders.
‘From the north, I suppose. From the mountains. I mean, there are lots of rocks there…’
Cecilia peered over the edge. The top was almost flat, but it must have been at least ten metres deep. She said, ‘There must have been a lot of ice.’
Anders remembered a fact. He made a movement up towards the sky. ‘One kilometre. Thick.’
Cecilia wrinkled her nose, and Anders felt as if he had been stabbed in the chest. ‘Never!’ she said. ‘You’re joking?’
‘That’s what my dad says.’
‘Yes, and…you know how the islands and everything, they kind of keep on coming up out of the sea a little bit more each year?’ Cecilia nodded. ‘That’s because the ice was so heavy it kind of pushed everything down and it’s still…coming back up. Just a little bit, all the time.’ He was on a roll now. He remembered. As Cecilia was still looking at him with an interested expression, he carried on. He pointed over towards Gåvasten.
‘Two thousand years or so ago, there was only water here. The only thing that was sticking up was the lighthouse. Or the rock, I mean. The rock the lighthouse is standing on. There was no lighthouse then, of course. And this rock. Everything else was under water. In those days.’
He looked at his feet, kicking at the thin covering of moss and lichen growing on the rock. When he looked up, Cecilia was gazing out across the sea, the mainland, Domarö. She put her hand on her collarbone as if she was suddenly afraid, and said, ‘Is that true?’
‘I think so.’
Something altered inside his head. He started to see the same thing as Cecilia. When he and his dad had been up here the previous summer, the words had just gone into his head as facts, and even though he’d thought it was exciting, he hadn’t really thought about it. Seen it.
Now he could see. How new everything was. It had only been here for a short time. Their island, the ground on which their houses sat, even the ancient wooden boathouses down in the harbour were just pieces of Lego on the primeval mountain. His stomach contracted as if he were about to faint, vertigo from gazing down into the depths of time. He wrapped his arms around his body and suddenly he felt completely alone in the world. His eyes sought the horizon and found no comfort there. It was silent and endless.
Then he heard a sound to his left. Breathing. He turned his head and found Cecilia’s face only a fraction away from his own. She looked into his eyes. And breathed. Her mouth was so close to his that he could feel her warm breath on his lips as she exhaled, a faint hint of Juicy Fruit in his nostrils.
Afterwards he would find it difficult to understand, but that’s what happened: he didn’t hesitate. He leaned forward and kissed her without giving it a thought. He just did it.
Her lips were tense and slightly firm. With the same inexplicable decisiveness he pushed his tongue between them. Her tongue came to meet his. It was warm and soft and he licked it. It was a completely new experience, licking something that was the same as the object doing the licking. He didn’t exactly think that, but he thought something like it, and at that moment everything became uncertain and strange and he didn’t know what to do.
He licked her tongue a little bit more, and part of him was enjoying it and thinking it was fantastic, while another part was thinking: Is this what you’re supposed to do? Is this right? It couldn’t be, and he suspected this was where you moved on to petting. But even though his cock was beginning to stiffen as his tongue slid over hers, there was no possibility, not a chance, that he was going to start…touching her like that. Not a chance. He couldn’t, he didn’t know how, and… no, he didn’t even want to.
Preoccupied with these thoughts he had stopped moving his tongue without noticing. Now she was the one doing the licking. He accepted this with gratitude, the enjoyment increased slightly, the doubts faded away. When she withdrew her tongue and kissed him in the normal way before their faces moved apart, he decided: that went quite well.
He had kissed a girl for the first time and it had gone well. His face was red and his legs felt weak, but it was OK. He glanced at her and
she seemed to share his opinion. When he saw that she was smiling slightly, he smiled too. She noticed and her smile broadened.
For a second they gazed into each other’s eyes, both smiling. Then it all got too much and they looked out to sea once again. Anders no longer thought it looked frightening in the least, he couldn’t understand how he could have thought it did.
I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.
That’s what he’d said. And now it was true.
They made their way back down. When they had got past the stoniest part, they held hands again. Anders wanted to scream, he wanted to jump and smash dried-up branches against the tree trunks, something wanted to come out.
He held her hand, a happiness so enormous that it hurt bubbling
away inside him. We’re together. Cecilia and me. We’re together now.
Excerpted from Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist Copyright © 2011 by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This just might be one of my favorite reads this year. I was lucky to receive the ARC for Harbor from the publisher and I can tell you, this is one that I'll be recommending to a lot of people. What is incredible in this book is the atmosphere the author creates, the almost mythic quality to the story, which adds layers and layers of knowledge as the chapters take us deeper into the history of Domaro. This is no normal horror novel, it is so smartly done that it begins to get under your skin from the very first page, building the mystery and the tension to an excruciating pitch. The characters are well done, but they all take a back-stage to the setting. The island itself is a character, one to compete with the moors in Wuthering Heights. It is impossible to forget where we are, the ocean always a step away in all its glory and power. The only thing I had a bit of trouble with was the ending. It seemed too easily resolved. There were a few plot points which were still not made too clear. This however, should not stop anyone from reading it, since I'm sure others will see the ending as genius. I'm willing to forgive the weak ending because the rest of the book just astounded me. This is one of those books that you will not want to put down. One that will stay with you for far longer than it takes to read. When it comes out on October 11th, this is one to add to your shopping lists.
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite Harbor is a horror story of the sea reclaiming its own. In 2004, in the island fishing village of Domaro, Sweden, the book's setting, six-year-old Maja disappears while on an outing to the local lighthouse with her parents, Anders and Cecilia. After surviving the terror of this event, Anders and Cecilia's marriage crumbles; Cecilia moves away, and Anders turns to drink. Anders eventually moves back to Domaro and to his grandmother, Anna-Greta, and her longtime lover, Simon. Anna-Greta, one of Domaro's village elders, is aware that something is wrong, really wrong, but doesn't want to share what she thinks or knows, even with Simon. Anders is haunted by his past when he and Cecilia were young. Back then, two teenage misfits, Henrik and Bjorn, disappeared. Now they are back, as ghosts, and are up to no good whatsoever. Meanwhile, Anders, in his quest to find his daughter, Maja, realizes that people are affected by drinking the sea water, which seems to be cropping up right below the island's surface. Where did Henrik and Bjorn disappear to and from where did they come? Is Maja there as well? Who will survive as the harbor water freezes, and Domaro disappears beneath the waters? Harbor is an extraordinarily well-crafted horror story that will engross its readers. The events that transpire within its pages come close to possible in this world of tsunamis and earthquakes. The translation from the book's original Swedish by Marlaine DeLargy is first-rate. The author, John Lindqvist, informs readers at the book's beginning that the setting for Domaro and the lighthouse at Gavasten have been under water for tens of thousands of years. From this underwater landscape, he has fashioned a story with totally believable, and sometimes downright scary, characters that the reader will not forget.
In 2004 Sweden Anders and Cecilia take their six years old daughter Maja from their home in Gavasten to tour the nearby icebound lighthouse off the archipelago Domaro Island. Precocious Maja likes to lead but she vanishes as her parents lose sight of her. The frantic adults search everywhere for their precious child, but fail to find her. The conclusion they make is somehow she fell under the thin but solid iced channel, but no evidence of holes or weak spots are found. Though they have been an entry since being young teens twenty years ago, their marriage falls apart as Cecilia tries to move on passed her grief while Anders becomes an alcoholic who is unable to let go of his guilt for not watching his offspring closer. Two years since the tragedy, Anders returns to Domaro believing he will find his beloved Maja. Instead he begins to hear whispers of ritual sacrifice by the indigenous islanders including his mother to the nearby sea. Harbor is a dark thriller in which the audience will wonder whether the sacrifices are to a supernatural being or just superstitious island mythos induced murders. The fast-paced story line is character driven by the seemingly insane Anders, but owned by the villagers; similar in tone to Anthony Shaffer's The Wicker Man. Though one must wonder why he (and Cecilia) had not thought of what seems to be common knowledge, readers will relish this tense suspense. Harriet Klausner
I have in front of me on my desk a book titled "Harbor" by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It's a book translated from Swedish. I finished it last night, and I've been mulling since then whether I liked the book. I have a conclusion now. The answer is no. Why? Well.(1) If I have to mull over it, that tells me something. (2) I asked myself: "Does this book make me want to buy the author's other books?" The answer is "No." So, no, I reckon I did not like the book, but it has plenty of good things going for it. A review quote on the back equates Lindqvist to Stephen King. I'm not crazy about King, so I might not be the best person to review "Harbor." But here goes. Good things first. Lindqvist has a knack for setting. For creepiness. Some of the scenarios in the book are downright delicious. Also, this book depends heavily on back story (which is good and bad). I estimate about 2/3 is written in back story, and 1/3 in present time. Most of the time, this works. When it does not work, though, the story drags. Plus, in the 1/3 "present time" good space was devoted to minor characters and their actions. I didn't care about them. More dragging. At one point a bit past halfway, I was tempted to call it a day. No more reading. No finishing the book. I forced myself to finish, though, and the book picked up again soon after that. The story summary purports that this book will be about a girl's disappearance. It is not. It is about an island, about a town. The girl is only one little piece, so that may be part of why I disliked the book. I entered the book expecting one thing and came out with something different (something I hadn't wanted to read about). Bottom line: Lindqvist throws in too much. He has an underlying "monster" (monster for lack of a better word - perhaps villain or boogeyman would be better, but the bad guy is not even a guy. Or anything resembling a person). Halfway through, two ghosts pop up, and we're introduced to their characters' back stories. Halfway through! That for me is too late to introduce characters of such import. A lot of other stuff is thrown in, scattered about, and it got to be too much. Also (and I have this issue with King often), the underlying logic just did not work for me. I was like. "Huh? Okay." The ending was very disappointing. I suppose if you like Stephen King, you'll like "Harbor" too.
First of all, I really enjoyed the story. I wouldn't necessarily classify it as "horror," although it does intertwine a bit of the supernatural with fantasy into the realm of general fiction. Secondly, I was so surprised (pleasantly) that there were VERY few grammar mistakes--it seemed like the only mistakes I found were probably because the ideas were lost in translation. Finally, I have not read a book where the author uses so many metaphors to display ideas, descriptions, etc. of ordinary strength while turning them into something miraculous, something that can only make you shake your head at the clever wit of the author. One of the metaphors which really grabbed me had to do with absentmindedly admiring your fingers and how at point, you stare at them so long that it is not unlike being possessed. I really didn't have any flaws with this book except for the fact that it was 500 pages--I think Lindqvist could have told the story in about 300 pages and it still would have dealt the same blow. Speaking of which, the ending was what I expected to happen and for once, I was glad of that, even if I did hold my breath the entire time.
This was a strange book. It starts with the disappearance of Maja. Then the majority of the book is told not as a flashback but as back-story. I mean we look back at the past with the present interspersed. It is an effective way to tell a story. They have listed this as a horror story but I thought of it more as a mystery or thriller. The book is about a Swedish island that is full of mysterious secrets known by a few. It includes a former magician that has bonded himself to a Spiritus, which is a centipede like creature. When he allows his saliva to touch the body of the Spiritus they have formed a bond and he has obtained some of the powers from the Spiritus. This is definitely one of those books that you can say nothing is as it seems. The story is not written in the usual chronological way, which adds to the mystery. It is told in a way that holds the reader. The people on the island love the sea and at the same time, you can tell they fear it on some level. The question is, why? For the answer to this, I would suggest you read the book. Maybe then you will find out why and how people, have for years just vanished. Perhaps you will find out the true power of the sea.
Lindqvist is quickly becoming one of my favorite suspense-horror writers because just like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub and John Saul, he gets you to invest emotionally in his characters. Another unique idea. I look forward to what he'll create next.
This is easily my favorite of Lindqvist's novels so far. Here, he finally perfects the skill of using fantastical elements (in other books zombies, vampires; here, sea monsters) to highlight human relationships and the things that make us work or not work, while still maintaining an interesting and forward-moving plot. Some of his other books suffered a bit from being too 'conceptual' - the ideas were neat, but not a lot happened. In Harbor, he fixes that problem. The story remains compelling even as we explore sacrifice (ourselves, that of others), tradition, danger, love, and a million other things that make us human. I really recommend Harbor, even if you weren't thrilled by his other works.
With Let Me In, John Lindqvist reinvigorated the vampire novel, managing to create a vampire character that simultaneously evoked both sympathy and terror. In Harbor, the author has done it again, creating a dark, spooky atmosphere, while also managing to capture the heartbreaking terror and panic of losing a child. Interspersing the present day with lots of back story provides the reader with a thorough and unique portrait of the characters while simultaneously holding the readers interest with well-written suspense.The final reveal doesn't fail or feel like a let down. It's nice to read a horror novel without feeling like the writer is searching for ways to appeal to purely visceral frights. Without a doubt, Lindqvist should be counted among the great horror writers working today.
Each character is provided with a backstory, so you're getting several stories within the story. This can work in character development, but in this particular book, the original plot is dragged under and seemingly lost. The twists are slow to develop and after 300+ pages I really needed more to happen. Perhaps, because the intent is horror and suspense, but I became rather bored and disinterested. The pacing, like the island, is isolating and distant. For me, it created a detachment with the plot and I had no problem putting the book down, but soon found it difficult to pick back up. The gap between current bizarre happenings and long back story fractured the experience, making reading choppy and awkward. Frankly, what should be intriguing became boring and uneventful. By the end, the pages themselves were killing me and I had little motivation to read on.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lindqvist did a good job of slowly introducing the supernatural into this story, making it more believable than if he had hit us over the head with it at the beginning of the book. I enjoyed the pace of the book and found that even with 500 pages, the read was fairly quick. It is reminiscent of a Stephen King with the way it entwines reality with mysterious and unexplainable happenings.
When I first read ¿Let the Right One In¿ I thought it was not just the best vampire novel I have read, but one of the best novels I had read in a long time. Right out of the gate Lindqvist produced a masterpiece. Since then I have read ¿Handling the Undead¿ and now his latest translation ¿Harbour¿. And I have found that I have trouble rating both novels, because of the brilliance of the first. I hearken it to Orson Welles, in that Welles burst on the scene with a masterpiece in ¿Citizen Kane¿, and then everything after inevitably failed to live up to it. Welles made some fantastic movies in their own right in films such as ¿Touch of Evil¿, ¿The Magnificent Ambersons¿ and ¿The Stranger¿. But because Kane was so perfect, everything else paled in comparison. Lindqvist is in the same boat, ¿Let the Right One In¿ was perfect in every way, and both ¿Handling the Undead¿ and ¿Harbour¿ are wonderful novels on their own. But trying to forget ¿Let the Right One In¿ while reading them is difficult to say the least. ¿Harbour¿ is a good solid novel, with some fantastic parts in it. Lindqvist does a great job conveying the coastal Swedish culture, as well as what it is like growing up in a small tourist town. His sense of teenage alienation that never quite goes away is wonderful, and the concept of two ghosts roaming around speaking in Smiths lyrics is fantastic. The plot moves along, and the sense of foreboding is well written. Lindqvist has a real gift for using the supernatural aspects of his work to focus in on basic human emotions and foibles. Both ¿Harbour¿ as well as ¿Handling the Undead¿ do a great job discussing grief and what we do to not let go. This is very good book and one that I would recommend, but with the caveat that this is not ¿Let the Right One In¿. But comparisons between the two is my failure and not Lindqvist¿s fault, it just is a compliment that his masterwork was so good, nothing else will live up to it.
The sea is the monster here. And the sea demands much of the inhabitants of a quaint Swedish island. Although some plot elements were perhaps silly, this Stephen King-like thriller really delivered, largely thanks to fantastic character development. There's the depressed Anders, who returns to the island two years after the inexplicable disappearance of his young child, his grandmother,the matriarch of the town who knows the dark secret history of the sea, and her old boyfriend Simon, a former magician, who comes across a mysterious, worm-like, saliva awakened "Spiritus" that.. (no, I won't tell you!) The many backstories are each fascinating and often heart-wrenching and the novel moved at a brisk pace. -- quite a good read
I really enjoyed this book, I wasn't expecting much, since I found that the movie for "let me in" was just OK (I should know better than to think the book was similar) but I found myself completely drawn into this book. The story follows Anders a man who lost his daughter Maja. After an afternoon of ski and picnic, Maja disappear from the face of the earth never to be seen again. 2 years later Anders return on the island where it happen with the hope of starting a new life. However, the resident of the island seem to be hidding a secret. The book was a mix of horror (some part were really creapy) and supernatural. One thing that deceived me a little was the ending wish came to abruptely for me. Nonetheless a good book!!
Very uneven - perhaps due to translation or not-yet-completed edits (I read an ARC)? The background on the island where the story takes place is fairly interesting, as are the inhabitants but I found the ghost story part dull and incredibly hard to wade through. The ending was also a little too ...unrealistic and unacceptable. Not a fan.
A husband and wife take their six-year old child out to the lighthouse across the bay from the island of Domarö, Sweden. Anders, Cecilia and their daughter Maja. A perfect family. A perfect family moment. The proud father takes pictures of his beautiful family, of the lighthouse, of his home and then tragedy strikes. Maja is gone without a trace. There are no footprints. There is no sign of struggle. She is gone. The story follows Anders on a supernatural quest to solve the mystery of his daughter's disappearance. He must unravel the secrets of Domarö's history to understand what truly happened that fateful day two years ago.John Ajvide Lindqvist has crafted a supernatural page turner that will keep you guessing until the very end. The book felt a bit longer than it needed to be, but fortunately the story and setting will keep your curiosity peaked long enough to reach the climactic conclusion. I am not sure that this book has much re-readability value, but I did enjoy my brief stay in the harbor. The book is tagged as horror, but the horror aspect is more that of a ghost story than a gore fest. Recommended for fans of supernatural thrillers.
As demonstrated in his debut novel Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist masterfully mingles the subtleness of quiet horror with bursts of terror from unexpected directions. Whereas he has previously tackled vampires and zombies and imbued each mythology with his own flourishes, in Harbor Lindqvist boldly creates a supernatural novel which does not easily fit into the boundaries of any specific genre. Lindqvist continues to be insterested in love, the past and how we can either learn or escape from it and the ramifications of the choices we make.The islands of Sweden's Stockholm Archipelago are much like any other island communities around the world, insular by nature, the year-round residents often resent the presence of the summer residents and the lifelong and multi-generational residents resent the more recent arrivals. On Domaro, one such island, the long-time residents keep a secret from the others that transcends family and relationships. Domaro's fate is, and has been for centuries, deeply intertwined with that of the sea. Ghosts, possessions, strange weather and other natural and supernatural phenomena are employed to either support or punish people. The sea demands its tribute for ensuring the survival of the island with bountiful fish harvests. In the past, this tribute was determined through a Lottery-style drawing and over the centuries evolved into a method of punishment.Now a young family, the father descended from long-time islanders, is shattered when the young daughter goes missing on the frozen sea. She did not fall through the ice, she simply disappeared, her footprints ending in the middle of a snowy expanse. The father's struggle to metaphorically find himself and physically find his daughter forms the plot which propels the narrative through numerous historical vignettes that gradually coalesce into a history of Domaro and those who inhabit it.Once again, Lindqvist delivers a hauntingly beautiful story of love and loss. He proves worthy of the comparisons to Stephen King. Perhaps one day we'll speak of early Lindqvist in the same revered tones as early King.
If you've ever seen Let The Right One In, you kind of have an idea how this book will go. It's a satisfying ghost story set on an island inhabited by the descendants of fishermen who made an unfortunate bargin with the sea, and it's about what happens once the villagers stop holding up their end of the bargain. An eerie, but not disturbing book, funny in places and touching in others. Recommended.
I was very excited to get this advance copy because I love this author. His vampire book, Let the Right One In, pleased me so very much because it came out at a time when vampires were going all sparkly and My Little Pony on me - Let the Right One In is one of the books that restored vampires to their predatory glory and did it in a very sophisticated way. It remains one of my favorite reads of all time.Harbor is maritime horror and it's hard not to love that - haunted islands, wrecked ships with ghostly crews, spectres on the widow's walk - all great stuff for horror fans. I just knew that Mr. Lindqvist would bring a great new point of view to this.Harbor is really two different books inside one - and that's the problem. There is the elegantly written and beautiful homey sort of story of the island, its inhabitants, and their relationships with one another. I loved that book. Then there's the horror part - people mysteriously disappearing over time, one after the other. I just hated that book. I'm not sure whether Mr. Lindqvist needed a better editor, a better translator, or just permission to write something that wasn't horror, but whatever the reason the book just doesn't work for me. Very disappointing.Despite that, it's worth reading for that first book I mentioned and I'll whatever Mr. Lindqvist writes next because he's always interesting and surprising.
I must admit I wanted to read this book simply because "Let the Right One In" was such an awesome film. The book has scenes of brilliance that are creepy as hell. For these elements alone I'd say the book is worth consideration. I can't wait to read his other novels.
The most bizarre book I have read in a long time. Anders was my favorite character. The descriptions of the island itself and the lighthouse were beautiful and breathtaking. The secrets of the island and those who live there will keep you turning the pages long into the night. I recommend this one for those who like worms, spirits, and lots of spit : )
If H. P. Lovecraft lived in a day and age where writing a 500+ page novel was acceptable, he may have written something very similar to Harbor. If you¿re not familiar with Lindqvist, as was I when I first started reading this massive tome, you may automatically assume that he¿s a horror writer. Well, he is, but not exactly that. Lindqvist takes a horror trope and writes an engaging, sweeping, epic story around that trope, and how it affects real people.In Harbor, we meet an isolated cluster of islands, its people, and a history of dissapearances to some unseen, underwater force. We have magicians who know real magic, a town surrounded by malevolent water, and two ghosts who ride a moped around and quote The Smiths. The narrative spans, mostly, three generations, but also occasionally takes a peek at times more ancient than that.While undertaking a reading of Harbor may itself be a challenge, if you¿re willing to dedicate the time to read its many pages, you will find not only a horror story that is approachable by readers on non-horror, but an interesting tale of people, both dead and alive.
The island of Domarö has a long and storied history, and tales are told of how the island slowly appeared to rise from the water and how the sea and the people lived in a strange sort of harmony. Anders and his wife Cecilia are two such people, living in a place know as the Shack -- a building of strange angles and drafty windows, but a nice little place right on the water -- built by his father Johan. One winters day, Anders and Cecilia, along with their daughter Maja, travel across the frozen waters to the lighthouse at Gåvasten, and while exploring the tower which seems to sprout from the very rock of the island, Maja disappears without a trace. No screams, no footprints, no signs of struggle. She simply vanishes.Two years later, Anders returns to Domarö, trying to put his life back together after Cecilia left him. He returns to the Shack and soon begins feeling that he's not alone, that his daughter Maja is somewhere in the house, playing hide and seek. With the help of Simon, an old magician who has a romantic history of his own with Anders' grandmother Anna-Greta, Anders tries to piece together what he's been feeling inside the shack. But he uncovers darker tales that lie just beneath the happy surface of life on Domarö, tales of strange disappearances throughout the history of the island. As their stories comes to light, stranger events happen across Domarö, people turning angry for no reason or those who had disappeared suddenly re-surfacing on the island to wreak havoc. And Anders soon learns why the islanders fear the lighthouse at Gåvasten.Unlike quite a few horror novels, "Harbor" isn't filled with blood and gore or terrifying nightmarish creatures presented to scare the wits out of the reader. Instead, it offers a fully-drawn background of Domarö, its inhabitants, and the lighthouse at Gåvasten. The history intertwines with the present, and as the reader uncovers the past, the horror of what happened and continues to happen slowly bubbles beneath the surface, creating tension that seems to permeate every page of the book. Plus, it includes subtle twists that makes the reader unsure of which characters to trust and what defines good and bad, making the horror aspect all the more effective. For fans of horror, this is a must read.
I received this book as part of the LT early reviewer program. After a long, angst filled wait to receive this book, I dove in and was smothered by the darkness of this unbelievable well written work of terror. Anders is a man who has lost his daughter and with her his will to live life. After 2 years he decides to return to the small island where she vanished. as he begins to unravel the mystery of what has happened to her, the horror of life on the island that it long time residnets are trying to keep hidden slowly comes to light.I felt many chills and tremors as I tore through this wonderfully written tale. I had a hard time putting it down as the pacing was just wonderful. Written with the same attendtion to spine tingling detail as Let The RIght One In, Lindqvist proves he is a master story-teller. A definite must read for fans of the thriller.
Don't get me wrong, I liked this book...I truly did...However I felt that there was just that certain 'something' missing. The book circulates around the character of Anders, a desperate man who has lost his daughter Maja on the frozen sea surrounding the island of Domaro. Anders leaves Domaro after Maja's disappearance, becomes an alcoholic and is drawn back to the island to find out what happened to his daughter. Eerie things start happening as soon as Anders returns, mischievous pranks, people returning from the past and strange occurrences involving the sea.Not only does the book focus on Anders, it also circulates around his grandmother Anna-Greta and his Step Grandfather Simon, a retired magician. Simon notices the strange occurrences surrounding the sea and turns to the mysterious Anna-Greta for answers. Anna-Greta tells him about the legends and pacts made hundreds of years ago by the inhabitants of Domaro with the cruel sea. Once the truth is out, Anna-Great & Simon help Anders counter-act the supernatural forces on the island.I particularly enjoyed the story of Simon and Anna-Greta. The flashbacks of Simon acquiring and using 'spiritus' (an element of magic which controls water) was intriguing, I also was hooked with the love story between Simon & Anna-Greta. I didn't particularly like all the references to the 80's...and it was rather annoying having the two ghosts constantly quoting "The Smiths" by means of communication. I think it could have been more frightening with the ghosts not even talking. All in all it was a good book and there were a few moments when I was chilled to the core. However, I feel that the book did not end well, rather than answering questions it created a million more. I would have like to have known more about the happenings of the sea and had it explained a little more. It reminded me of LOST in many ways...but not in a good way. Even though LOST had a multitude of story-lines they flowed so well, allowing us to fit the pieces together like a brilliant puzzle. This story was all over the place, far too many pieces were missing. It delivered in someways...it failed majorly in others.This is a good read...but don't get your hopes up like I did.