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Harbor    by John Ajvide Lindqvist Amazon.com order for
Harbor
by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2011 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Maja, a six-year old child, disappears on an island off the coast of Sweden. Her parents watch her leave a lighthouse and start to cross an inlet on thick, solid ice. Suddenly, her red snowsuit is no longer in sight. They race to where she was last seen and there is not a trace. Even her snowy footprints stop abruptly.

Needless to say, therein begins a saga that takes us into the near future when Maja's father is drinking to excess, her mother has left him and returned to the mainland, and the child is still missing. Anders, the father, suddenly feels that Maja is near him or in him and he has taken up residence in a rundown shack that has been in the family for years on this island. He finds traces of her but cannot communicate with her.

It gets spooky here when his courtesy father finds an insect that has magical powers. Anders discovers that the sea has vast magical powers and becomes obsessed with the ocean. Old-time village residents tell him of strange happenings but never offer any explanations. Harbor is a very well written tale of the fantastic. A UK publication dubs it 'Sweden's answer to Stephen King.'

Harbor is a novel with which you can become very absorbed. All five hundred satisfying pages. It has horror; mystification; emotions flowing both high and low; teenage antics with disastrous ramifications; and a tiny child who rules a household and demands her own way.

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