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REALJimBob

Fortysomething, photographer slacker, working in IT, living in Greenwich; failed polymath; drinks and eats too much, reads too little...

Harbour - John Ajvide Lindqvist It's a very different novel than Let the Right One In. Not just because it's a different subject and pace, it almost feels like it was written by a different author. Of course it is the same author, but it is a new translator. I had assumed that a translator just took the original text and translated it. Word x becomes y etc. Maybe move them about a bit to correct the grammar, but that was it. Turns out I may have underestimated that role pretty seriously unless Lindqvist is changing his style from novel to novel. While my review of Let the Right One In suggested that I thought the characters came across as a bit clinical, this one is much more character driven. This novel is slower and that seems to give Lindqvist/Delargy more scope to develop the world that Lindqvist has created. Most of the story is explained through flashbacks and exposition provided through one character telling a story from their own past. Lindqvist seems to accept that this can sometimes be an unsatisfactory method of exposition, and even apologises at the start, yet it never feels forced or overly deliberate.

The story itself is about the island of Domarö, a fictional island in a fictional archipelago off the coast of Sweden, and the pact that exists between its residents and the sea. The central character is Anders, an alcoholic, who is drawn back to the island where his young daughter, Maya, disappeared a couple of years before. Slowly, with his grandmother's partner Simon, he uncovers the history of the island and the individual relationships that many of it's residents have with the island and the sea around it. Eventually, Anders hopes, allowing him to find out what happened to his daughter. Although it's a supernatural story, it doesn't feel as dark or as 'gothic' as Let the Right One In, instead the supernatural powers seem more natural, almost incidental.