Review: "Handling the Undead" by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Having read "Let Me In" by Lindqvist, I knew that the undead in "Handling the Undead" would exist outside of the modern idea of the zombie. Once again, Lindqvist has created an exceptionally original monster. The "reliving" do not chase down humans wanting flesh and brains, they attack at a psychic level. This is not book that will make you scream, it is a book that will make you think.

Lindqvist creates a realistic tale of what could occur during an awakening and the reaction of the society in which it occurs. From scientific reactions, government reactions and religious reactions (making a connection to Revelations... the dead will rise from their graves...).

We follow several sets of main characters, there are time markers that each set of characters experience. I found all of the main characters captivating, however, two stick with me the most. Flora, a goth teenager who has "the power," she is an empath, connected deeply with the emotion of those around her, sometimes picking up on the thoughts of others. She reminds me of what I imagined Death from Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" to be before she accepted her burden of being death. And David, whose wife dies in a terrible accident and is awakened shortly after her death. While Flora provides a supernatural point of view, David provides an emotional point of view. "[His wife] was not dead, he could not grieve. [His wife] was not alive, he could not hope."

Lindqvist has an depth in his work that one would not expect from a horror writer. He tells an amazing story about experiencing life and death and the glimpse of what happens next.

"I believe...
There is a place where happiness exists. A place, and a time."

Handling the undead