Jillwilson's Reviews > Lilla stjärna

Lilla stjärna by John Ajvide Lindqvist
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Jan 02, 2012

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Read in December, 2011

Lest you think I am reading in Swedish, I couldn't find the English language version of this book on this US-centric website.
Little Star – a horror story or a deeper book about adolescence? Or both those things. I first accessed the novelist Lindqvist’s work with the film ‘Let the Right One in” (http://likeachoppingblockshould.blogs...) - also a horror narrative which is also about adolescence.

In Little Star, Lindqvist traces the lives of two girls – both outsiders in Swedish society. Theres, abandoned as a baby, is a very fine singer with some developmental issues. Theresa is an overweight, lonely, bullied child. The novel explores what they do with their feelings of alienation and to say more about the plot would be wrong. I think the writer is extremely good at getting inside the head of these disaffected girls. He says that he thinks that the main flaw in many horror films is that he can’t identify with the main characters. Lindqvist ensures that we empathise with the character of Theresa, and to a lesser extent Theres, at the same time as being disturbed and alienated by what they do. He said that he tries “to combine both those things, that the child is the protagonist, the one we are following, the one that drives the tale forward, and at the same time being the one that you have to watch out for.”

What he delivers is not new or unique but it is interesting. This novel doesn’t work as well for me as the film of 'Let the Right One in' did, but it was a great thing to read in the bright light of a summer Christmas at the beach. A few brooding teenagers around at Waratah Bay but none with obvious homicidal urges.

It’s worth reading a little of what the writer had to say about his work:
“But then I think that many horror films and horror storytellers dig deep into the hole that is their own childhood to reach a more original fear. A fear that is nameless. As an adult we can rationalize out thoughts. This is that, and that scares me where that doesn’t. But as a child the stuff out there in the dark or that strange noise under the bed could be anything. If I want to conjure up something that is really scary, an image of something really horrible, then I almost always have to go back to my early years to find a description of that fear. And I think these are emotions and fears that many who write, or work with horror use in their work.” http://constructinghorror.com/index.p...

Interestingly, what I think he really nails are the real and practical fears of childhood and adolescence (regardless of those that linger under the bed) – the question of fitting in, of friendships and of connection – or lack of it. This is the real horror of that period of life.


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