Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: "Harbor" by John Ajvide Lindqvist

This book, Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist, really brings into question the quality of the other two books of his I have read, being Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead, both of which I liked at the time of reading, but now I can hardly remember any details from either that made me like the books so much. Is it possible he is a one-note writer whose one trick, which is telling genre stories centered on a symbolized version of a human experience, is slowly but surely getting old? I would think so, since this book just so happens to be his biggest, but also the most boring one of Lindqvist’s books. It does a hackneyed job of juggling multiple narratives, which is the first time he has done something on this scale (Handling the Undead had many stories, but only one plot), and even when he is on, he quickly falls off balance many times. The story centers around a man named Anders, who is still reeling from the disappearance of his daughter Maja two years before on a remote Norwegian island while exploring a lighthouse. Divorced from his wife and drowning his thoughts in alcohol, he moves back into his families’ home on the island, discovering a vast supernatural cover-up that can explain why his daughter went missing. As I said, there are two many storylines going on and Lindqvist stumbles too many times, handling only a few storylines, such as one involving a pair of Smiths-quoting tortured souls from Anders past that not nearly enough time is spent on. On the whole, it is just very ineffective, and it makes me think that on rereading Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead, they may suffer the same fate of being painfully one-note.
Rating: 3/5

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