Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends. And how they came to depend on one another, for life itself. Oskar is a 12 year old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city's edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he's frightened. Eli is the young girl who moves in next door. She doesn't go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200 year old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood. John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend; and a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.
Genre: Fiction,Horror, Vampire, Swedish
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
I had been wanting to read this book for a while and Carin from A Little Bookish was kind enough to send me her copy!
This is the story of Oskar and Eli. Oskar is 12-years-old. He is bullied at school and doesn't really have many friends. Then he meets Eli. Eli just moved in next door. She is his age and they both like puzzles. They soon develop a close friendship. The only problem is, Eli isn't like other little girls. She is a vampire.
Eli lives with a man named Håkan. A former school teacher who was thrown out of his job when he was discovered to be a pedophile. Håkan loves Eli so he hunts down people who he can trap and drain of their blood, thus killing them, in order to keep Eli alive. One day, this goes terribly wrong and Håkan is caught by the police, leaving Eli all alone. Now she must find another way to survive.
This was an enjoyable book. It was creepy, horrifying, gory and suspenseful. It took me a while to read, as I haven't been well and have had trouble reading (see previous post). I think I would have enjoyed it more if I came back to it later, when I was feeling a bit better. Instead I persevered.
I enjoyed the character of Eli. She was complex. One minute she sounded like weird little girl, the next she was a cold-blooded killer. She really drove home the point that if you needed something to survive, you would take it. There was nothing sparkly or lovable about this little vampire. She was thoroughly creepy. Definitely not your typical vampire story, if your thinking about what is popular lately.
Oskar was someone I sympathised with. He was bullied mercilessly at school and was a typical victim. Weak, scared and kind of weird (he collected stories of murder out of the newspapers). Eli gave him the courage to stand up for himself, with startling consequences.
There were many other secondary characters in this book such as Oskar's tormentors, Tommy the older boy who lived in Oskar's building and Lacke, Virginia and friends; a group of old drinking buddies who are drawn into Eli's world. All of these characters make for a long and complex story with much going on at the one time. That said, it's still easy to follow.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, creepy horror story. Although, this one definitely isn't for the squeamish.