While out one night to pick mushrooms, Lennart finds a baby in a plastic bag. He opens the bag and her cry has a perfect pitch. He knows ... he's a failed musician.
Lennart brings the baby home to his wife, Laila, whom he has a horrible relationship with, and notifies her that he will be keeping the baby and that by no means will he notify the authorities.
He calls the baby, Little One. He won't let his wife spend time with the child other than to feed her. He wants the baby to stay in the basement. While Lennart was out of town on business for the day, Laila took the baby outside, and decided that she loved her.
The couple hide the child from everyone, including their adult son. Until one day, while Laila was sneaking outside with Little One, she falls and her son, Jerry, finds her and the secret is out.
Jerry has had a rough life. His life is full of "could have beens". But what he is, is a kid who got into trouble and let that trouble destroy his life. He lives off welfare, his parents money, and whatever illegal activity he can get an in on. Surprisingly, Jerry seems to like his new little "sister". He calls her Theres (which drove me nuts). He played guitar with her while she sang.
Theres was not a normal child. Other than singing, she made no sound. She doesn't cry. She doesn't talk. She refuses to eat anything besides baby food. She will not look at people. Theres does start to become curious and then suddenly talks, like she knew how to the entire time but didn't feel the need. Laila decides she wants to teach the girl to read and write so that she has hope of adapting to the world.
Lennart tells Theres that she must stay inside always because the big people outside want to eat her. Theres accepts this. This is the factor that sets who she becomes.
When a tragedy occurs and Threse has to live with Jerry, he tries to undo the harm that Lennart has done to the her. She doesn't understand lying, she doesn't understand that Lennart was lying to keep her hidden.
Threse and Jerry move to Stockholm and find an opportunity that will allow the world to hear Threse sing. However, it may be what finally breaks them apart.
To me this book is about choices, Jerry's life is what is is do to choices made when he was young. The same can be said of Threse, what happened in the end, would never have occurred if Lennart didn't make the decision thaat he did, to in effect, kidnap Theres.
The first 400 pages of this book moved in a great flow, 400 - 481 was a bit slow and confusing. Lingvist usually deals in supernatural situations. I guess he never fully explains his creatures.. but I wish I knew what Theres was. How did she get in the plastic bag as a baby? Why is she the way she is? There's no real closure here.
You may know Lindqvist from Let Me In and Handling the Undead, I wouldn't say that this novel was as good as Let Me In but its on par with Handling the Undead. In my opinion, worth the read if you love horror and don't mind gore.