Friday, March 25, 2011

The shivers

She dreams of water
I just finished 'Menneskehavn' by John Ajvide Lindquist. For those of you who don't know the name, he's the author of 'Let The Right One In', which I hope you have seen, the Swedish version, please. 'Menneskehavn' hasn't been translated into English yet, so I don't know what the title will be, but literally it means 'Human Harbor'.

Lindquist mixes realistic settings in modern day Sweden with horror, delving into modern myths like vampires and zombies, but always with a fresh, somber and deeply chilling angle. He's good. He's really good.

This time it was ghosts. Ghosts and creatures of the dark sea. Combined. Man.

I'm not going to say that I don't scare easily, because I do. I scary so easily, I can't watch horror movies. There and then I laugh (a little shrilly perhaps), but I always dream about them afterwards. Nightmares when I was five, nightmares now. Silly imagination.

(Actually, wonderful imagination. Thank you, Great Imagination Dispenser, for those extra couple of squirts. I do love them.)

'Menneskehavn' is the scariest thing I've read in a long time. It was a gift from a friend, and I hadn't read the back before I started it. (I like to do that sometimes. It's like running in the dark.) So when the main character slowly realizes that the presence he senses in his old summer house on the Swedish coast is in fact his dead six-year-old, I cringed with him. When he finds out that the ghost is connected with the dark waters right outside his walls, my belly stung. Dead children and the ocean are definitely on my top five most frightening list, along with women in white nightgowns with hidden faces, old clocks, and porcelain dolls.

At one point, I stayed awake most of the night because I was too afraid to go to sleep. And Magnus still wakes up 10 times every night and my Pan and I have to split the night into shifts just to get by, so one night of lost sleep is A LOT.

Then I spotted Magnus's red winter suit hanging on the bedroom chair, and well...

I think you should read it if you can.

Now for shivers of a more pleasant sort: You have to read what happened to my friend Laini when she went to London to meet the British publishers of her next book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Good heavens. The costumes alone!

(Photo by my fantastically talented sister Line, as always, and this time the photo is of her as well).


camilla said...

oh, you totally made me want to go find that book *right now*.
the ocean and dead children are to me too, two of the scariest things.
and Let The Right One In... pure gold!

Li:ne said...

I'm so looking forward to reading this at easter at our cabin, the darkness of the Atlantic lapping the rocks below. Brr...

No, I take that back.
The Atlantic is forever blue and glittering. Really.

bronwyn said...

Now I really want to see (and read) Let the Right One In. But the sea and ghosts - oh my! I love the sea and part of the reason I love it so is because I also fear it. And women in white dresses. And little girls in white dresses for that matter. And porcelain dolls. And I'll add mannequins to my list. I hope it is translated to English soon. And that party! Just wow.

tone almhjell said...

Oh bronwyn, did you see that mannequin episode of buffy the vampire slayer? They were sort of floating midair. SO scary!

Jaime Blasco said...

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bronwyn said...

OK, why don't I remember this? What season was it? I missed several episodes of the last 2 seasons but I thought I saw all the others. It sounds terrifying. Here's a bit of serendipity for you - I was at my neighborhood bookstore on Sunday and they had Let the Right One In featured on the staff picks shelf. :)

tone almhjell said...

Actually, they weren't real mannequins, they just looked like them, all stiff and bent and bald with wide, frozen smiles. The Gentlemen, I think they were called.

Yay for Lindquist! I hope you bought it!

bronwyn said...

The Gentlemen!! Yes! So scary!

I didn't buy it that day because the 4 year old was not in the mood to run over to the used section to search for it there first and was pretty much done for the day. I did make it to the used section on my next visit and they had it and I bought it. :) It is in a stack of nearly 20 "to read next" books so we shall see where it falls in the lineup. I did read the first few pages called "location" about how the town has no history. Very creepy already.