Sunday, November 4, 2012

Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Little Star
by John Avide Lindqvist

Lennart, a former musician, out for a run, finds a baby girl abandoned in the forest in a most disturbing way. Rather than turn her into the authorities, he takes her home to his estranged wife, Laila. The girl, whom they first call Little One before she gains the unlikely moniker of Theres--is obviously different, even right from the start. She rarely makes a sound, but when she does, it's musical, and in perfect key--a sign that they are meant to be together, a close approximation of a family.

They raise her in secret, nurturing her natural gift of music and minimizing any contact she might have with the outside world. They tell her simple lies to keep her safe, little realizing that these simple lies will stay with her forever.

Teresa is another girl, also different but raised normally a short distance away. Teresa's attempts to fit in fail--something Theres can't even begin to attempt--and she tries to be invisible instead. Her life is ruled by fear, until she finds herself drawn into Theres small world.

First it is about Theres. Then it is about Teresa. Then it is about Theres and Teresa.

Teresa is seduced by Theres simple beauty and her perfect voice, lured into a world of danger and violence that bubbles just beneath the surface of everything. Coerced into one horrible act, Teresa's life is changed forever, no longer ruled by fear.

It's a novel concerned about music and poetry and where the two meet. It's a novel concerned with fragile and damaged children. But most of all, it's a novel concerned with identity and its malleable nature. An abandoned child is Little One is Theres is Tora is Tesla. Teresa is a dozen online identities is Tesla is a wolf is Urd. And Theres' older "brother"-cum-guardian undergoes such a drastic change in character that he may as well be a different person all together. It's about losing yourself in a pack mentality. It's about things that happen every single day.

"...Everyone is actually called something else..."

To give away much of anything about this story would spoil the fun. It's always difficult to see where it's going, and although it starts off rather slow, once it gets moving, it will surprise you with the turns it takes. The horror is sudden and shocking, and effectively chilling, but it's the creeping unease that really stays with you.

I could write pages upon pages analyzing this book in excruciating detail, and maybe someday I will. But in the meantime, do yourself a favor and buy this book. Don't just read it. Devour it. Like the hungry wolf you are.

Special thanks to Thomas Dunne Books for the reading copy!



  1. Yeah, we're pretty much on the same wavelength with this book. Looking forward to checking out his short story collection later this year, too.

    Just became a follower of the blog, too. Could've sworn I already was, but apparently not. I'm so used to depending on Google Reader to keep these things straight for me, anyway.

  2. Rabid Fox,

    Thanks for the follow. I hope my occasional book reviews will be able to please such a rabid reader and reviewer as yourself!



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