I Always Find You, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist takes us back, way back, to the teenage years when the world was just an open sky of endless opportunity. In the capable hands of a best-selling horror writer, we know that this particular new world of discovery is shortly about to evolve into something truly frightening. Lindqvist has inserted his aspiring teenage self into a narrative that will be somewhat recognizable to anyone who struck out on their own after school. The poverty, the fickle friends, the grotty apartments, the dodgy jobs. Most of us have been there, making all the usual youthful poor decisions with the self-assurance that we are completely bullet proof, not to mention still being in full possession of a blind faith that the world treats its embryonic adults kindly. Lindqvist takes those hazy years of starting out and tips it well and truly sideways. Turn a different corner, see things from a different perspective.
If we may assign such a test to novels of this kind (and it seems a bit of an insult to try and categorize in any way a left field work such as I ALWAYS FIND YOU), lets see if we find ourselves asking this question by the half way mark. Where in heck is this all meant to be going? Or perhaps there will be your own emphatic belief that yes, you have absolutely NO clue where it will all end up and you simply don’t care. See when that kicks in for you in this uneasy reading of a book that will never let you settle and feel assured of its final destination. There will be no rest for the reader, only a sense of growing despair and concern for its young protagonist, floundering around in the ennui of youth with little to propel him forward other than his poorly imagined destiny of being… a magician. Yes, a card trick, sleight-of-hand magician.
I ALWAYS FIND YOU is the second outing in Lindqvist’s ‘Locations’ trilogy. IAFY skips around the bits of your consciousness that are sometimes occupied with pondering what else might be out there beyond your own awareness of the immediate present. If you’re up for something different and introspective to read, I ALWAYS FIND YOU will soon have you immersed in that curious half life between reality and fantasy, youth and adulthood. The curious thing about this book is that it gives you absolutely no expectations on receiving any firm resolution or explanations. It’s all in the ride, and that ride becomes more bizarre and horrifying as the novel progresses.
Now that he has moved into his first apartment, nineteen year old Lindqvist is sure that success is just around the corner. He will need to at first progress through the usual fog of teenage inertia in order to reach his goals, so a clear path to fame and fortune is not crystal clear just yet. The other residents of the apartment complex seem to the usual odd mix of urban folk (who can’t afford a nice place either) and of course there is something off about a few of them. More interestingly, there is an odd substance in the shower room that the residents seem to know quite a bit about and there is an unspoken agreement about how it can be used.