Book: John Ajvide Lindqvist - Harbour

The author dedicates this book to his dead father: “He gave me the sea; the sea took him from me.”

Which is apt, as this succinct hint to a family tragedy essentially reflects the core of the novel, that people living in a remote Swedish island community are occasionally taken by the sea. But it also sometimes returns their vindictive ghosts.

Six-year-old Maja inexplicably vanishes while walking with her family on the frozen sea.

Two years later her father, Anders, abandoned by his wife and tormented by guilt and alcohol, returns to the community determined to get to the bottom of Maja’s disappearance.

Is she dead? Why then does he feel her presence? And what dark, ancient knowledge do the brooding villagers hide? As he delves deeper the power and mystery of the sea loom closer.

A reviewer’s comment on the back cover compares Harbour to Stephen King’s works and suggests “best read by daylight”. In my case I was stirred, not shaken, and was comfortable reading it at night.

Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Quercus, R172

Rating: 3/5 

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