Being a fan of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s books is double-edged sword. On the one hand, there’s often an interminable wait between novels, time spent gazing at his Wikipedia page and the tantalising Swedish titles of books as yet untranslated. And on the other, when those books do finally appear, the slow build of terror - the oppressive atmosphere of the worlds he inhabits - make that wait seem like time very well spent.
I Always Find You is the second book in Lindqvist’s Places trilogy, after 2017’s I Am Behind You. Where that novel, flashbacks aside, was set entirely within ‘The Other Place’, an endless expanse of grass and blue sky, populated by some disturbing things, I Always Find You only touches on it, rather creating its horror in our world, or at least the Sweden of 1985.
The protagonist is John Lindqvist. And, yes, it’s the author at nineteen, having moved back into Stockholm to become a professional magician. Unlike Lindqvist’s fellow Scandinavian Karl Ove Knausgård, though, this is no navel-gazing trawl through the minutiae of a long life, rather a tight few weeks leading to an explosive finale that - if true - changed Swedish society forever.
It’s not true, of course, or at least the reader hopes it isn’t, because Lindqvist once again creates a paralysing yet irresistible horror, as much from the behaviour of his ordinary characters at the centre of the story as the monsters that appear on its periphery. It’s autofiction, then, and Lindqvist’s explanation for why he became the writer he became; why he became a writer at all.
Lindqvist is known for his Morrissey-inspired titles, but the Swedish title for the first book in the trilogy referred to the songwriter whose songs played throughout, Himmelstrand. The Swedish title for I Always Find You is Rörelsen, which informally translates as ‘community’, and that knowledge informs a reading of the book that isn’t clear until its final third.
The final book in the series, X, was published last year in Sweden, and we’re left with that interminable wait again. It won’t be time spent away from the story, however, because it’s a Lindqvist story; it stays with you, changes your life in the most subtle ways, and because of that we all find ourselves in the Other Place.
I ALWAYS FIND YOU / AUTHOR: JON AJVIDE LINDQVIST / PUBLISHER: RIVERRUN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW