John Ajvide Lindqvist – Handling the Undead
Original Title: Hanteringen av Odöda
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
I am probably the most unlikely person to either talk about horror or talk about a book about the undead, but as people may or may not know, I was a huge fan of Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In — both book and Swedish adaptation, not so much of Let Me In.
So when Handling the Undead made its way into a translation, I couldn’t help but get my hands on it. The book chronicles a series of events before and after a huge phenomenon that made the “newly deceased” wake up and walk the streets of Stockholm, Sweden.
Though the reanimation of the dead is obviously a horror element, Handling the Undead deals with the story from its dramatic point of view. The original reaction shows, not only people freaking out from seeing dead people returning to their regular routines, but also deals with rising health issues for the government and the political action to handle them — which may or may not turn into total chaos. The book also has religious undertones and talks about the rights of the undead.
Lindqvist also never forgets the human element. He introduces us to David, who recently lost his wife in an accident, but finds himself eye to eye with her when she suddenly awakens at the morgue. Then there’s old Mahler, who lost his grandchild just a bit ago and rushes off to his grave to see if it’s true, that the dead have awoken. Finally, there’s the rebellious Flora, who’s at grandmother Elvy’s house after the passing of her grandpa.
Unlike Let the Right One In, Handling the Undead never truly feels like a horror story except for a chapter in which the ambiance described made you feel a little bit chilly. As a whole, however, the book’s better aspects are its grief and drama, which make you examine your own history with your deceased relatives and maybe, just maybe, reach that point where you actually tear up a little bit thinking about those memories and the would-have-beens.
The question I want to ask all of you is what would you do in that situation? What would you do if your dead relative or friend returned as if nothing had happened?
Get it on Amazon