Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Let the Old Dreams Die (2005)

Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist | Translator: Marlaine Delargy | Page Count: 518

“…as I stood there, I don’t know why, but I became more and more convinced that if… if she turned around… she wouldn't have a face.

A collection of eleven short stories from the Swedish author, most of which were originally published in his homeland as Paper Walls (2005).  The English language edition added the titular Let the Old Dreams Die, which takes place after Lindqvist’s full-length novel, Let the Right One In (2004).  Similarly, the last story in the book, The Final Processing, is a sequel to the full-length Handling the Undead (2005) novel.  The remainder of the shorts are standalone but some could be called spiritual successors in other ways.*

Some will appeal to people with a twisted, grisly imagination, but some will only really make sense to individuals who've felt isolated, distanced or uncomfortable in their own skin or in familiar surroundings.

A lot of the protagonists are in a position whereby they fear the truth of a situation because it will invariably cause some kind of gulf to open and separate them from their safe, routine existence.  The situations start normal but the observations fantastical; together they create a strange believability, even when logic says that those kinds of things really couldn’t happen… I hope.

I've never had such difficulty in choosing a quote to use on a post.  I had a dozen or more jotted down, each as good as the other but for very different reasons and evocative of equally different emotions.  If the endings had been as perfect as the singular observations, the book would've been even better.

3½ meaningful lyrics out of 5

*The US edition appears to be missing Paper Walls, whereas the UK edition lacks Tindalos.  Mine’s the UK edition so I have no idea what Tindalos is about but I can say with certainty after having read it that I’d not want Paper Walls to be absent.

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