Book Review: Harbour

Posted: January 10, 2012 in Book Reviews
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I have just finished reading “Harbour” by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

The book blurb reads:

Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist (via Amazon)

They only stopped watching her for a matter of minutes. 

On a clear day, Anders took his wife and their feisty six-year-old, Maja, for a walk from his home on the island across the frozen sea to the lighthouse. There was no one for miles around, so they stayed to admire the view while Maja struck out alone. 

There were no holes in the ice, no place for her to fall. She simply disappeared into thin air. 

Two years later, a wrecked Anders begins to investigate. Out on the island, he starts to feel he’s not alone. Maja is out there… and she’s trying to communicate with him.”

This novel is really good! You might think that island life is a little boring, but the setting is really fascinating with the islands at the mercy of the sea. The plot of the young girl going missing is really good, and the aftermath of this event reverberates throughout the novel. The girl’s father, Anders, returns to the island and goes through a very strange journey on his mission to find out what exactly happened to his little girl.

We meet some interesting characters along the way: Simon, the magician with a secret matchbox; Anna-Greta, the old woman with a fascinating lifestory; and Henrik and Björn, the outsiders who become even more mysterious. And, of course, Anders, who is dealing with the loss of his child. His grief and alcoholism give way to a man who is lot stronger underneath than you think, especially with all the strange events that occur during his search for the truth.

The novel feels like a normal mystery with the girl disappearing, that is until strange things start happening. Old superstitions and folk stories lead the way to strange events of people being possessed and so on. I won’t go into detail other i’ll ruin the plot, but there is plenty to get your teeth into and it will have you scratching your head in confusion near the end as it all gets very strange! The final climax is unexpected and rounds off the story quite well, although there are a few things we never find out (i’ll let you figure them out!).

John Ajvide Lindqvist is an excellent writer and has produced an emotionally charged, brilliantly plotted and eerie tale. This is the third book i’ve read by him and it hasn’t disappointed me! I’m not really a massive horror fan but i enjoyed reading this novel, as it has a wonderful sense of unease throughout the novel, which lets you know that something is about to happen.

I give it 9/10 because although it’s a little mundane reading about the people of the island and their backgrounds at first, it gets better as you read further on. The descriptions and the twists are detailed and fascinating to read, and i was hooked all the way through! If you’ve read Lindqvist’s other books, then definitely try this one!

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