Handling the Undead

I read John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Handling the Undead because I saw a trailer for an upcoming streaming adaptation. I haven’t read Let the Right One In, so I came to this book without any bias toward or expectation of the author.

I’m always on the lookout for fresh takes on zombies. I love the genre, and I want to author stories of my own. I can count my favorites on one hand: the 1990 remake of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the first ten volumes of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and Jules Avery’s OVERLORD. While I won’t be adding Lindqvist’s book to that collection, he does present an intriguing take.

Unfortunately, the story goes off the rails with the introduction of psychic phenomenon, a shoehorning-in of religious zeal, and the shock-rock of Marylin Manson. The story comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying conclusion which is later addressed by an additional short story that I haven’t read. I think that if an author needs to do this, they made a mistake somewhere in the original material.

This is also a translated text. I read a lot of translated work, poetry in particular, and I appreciate that things get lost or interpreted in unintentionally clumsy ways. I got that feeling from time to time while reading, and whenever this happens, I always wish I had the capacity to master the original language to the level of fluency that would allow me to read the original.

I’ve added Let the Right One In to my to-read list, and I’m more motivated than ever to pen my own entry into this well-oversaturated section of the library.


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