Harbour

Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
ISBN: 9781427213358

Why did I read it? Because I thoroughly enjoyed “Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist and as Harbour based around the folklore of the sea, an area of particular interest, I could not resist, especially since it, too, was available in audio format.

What’s it about? Anders and his wife are out walking on the ice to a lighthouse when their young daughter, Maja, spots something in the distance. Neither Anders, nor his wife can see what Maja sees, so they carry on with their afternoon excursion to explore the lighthouse. After taking a few moments alone, when they call Maja back, they find she has disappeared without trace.

Years later, Anders, a native islander returns home to Domarö alone. Now separated from his wife and having never recovered from his daughter’s disappearance, he drinks, but through the haze, Anders comes to realise that there are secrets lurking in Domarö. People mysteriously disappear; it’s been happening for years; occasionally they return, years later, under strange circumstances; and it is all somehow linked to the sea around Domarö.

What did I like? I really had no idea who, or what was the driving force behind the events on Domarö, despite having reads clues in various synopses when reading around the book. This was a some kind of different story, which ably held me in suspense, or would have were it not for unfortunate circumstances (see below). Harbour does maintains a level of suspense through to the end, despite jumping from the present to the past, and back again. It feels like everything is unfolding just as it should.

I found myself very much attached to Anders’s grandmother, Anna-Greta; it was her story – past, present and future – which very much intrigued me, more so than any other character.

I enjoyed the narration by Julian Rhind-Tutt; it was superb and very well paced. This particular audio edition was clear and without fault.

What didn’t I like? With Harbour I feel I have come to the end of my recent flirtation with horror; there were just a few passages where I had to tune out because I could not stomach the content, though admittedly it was very rare, Harbour seeming more of a thriller than a horror.

The audio edition first provided by Audible was short 6 hours of content. Despite two reviews noting this, on both sides of the Atlantic, no-one has sought to rectify the problem. Initially, I though the book had ended in a rather strange place with nothing resolved until I sought out the last words of the book and discovered, that a third was missing. Upon reporting it to Audible, the book was removed. It was only earlier this month I discovered, quite by accident, the book was available again with the missing hours. Unfortunately, I had completely lost the thread of the book and had to start again, which led to my drifting away on occasion.

Because of this oversight, and the inevitable gap in listening that resulted, I felt Harbour lost a little of its appeal.

Would I recommend it? Yes. If you enjoyed “ Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist, then you will certainly enjoy Harbour.

Rating: 4/5.

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