Recent Book Reviews
A bold adventure into realms unknown
The author of Let The Right One In (2004), has brought forth a lyrical horror novel focused on the the interplay of music, bullying, internet fame, and damaged children. Little Star, named for Sweden’s entry in the 1958 Euro-vision Song Contest, opens with the discovery of a baby in the wood’s by mid level Swedish Rock Musician/Producer Lennart. Lennart takes the child back to his house, names her Thers, and raises her in secret only exposing her to music to make her a perfect vessel for singing. It also focuses on Teresa Svenson, a young girl who is bullied by her classmates, writes poetry, and loves trolling people on online forums. When Teresa and Thers meet online, they combine lyrics and music and have a fair amount of success on the Swedish equivalent to American Idol. However, when a record producer abuses their trust Teresa and Thers who never really trusted the adult world, gather together a group of girls who have also been victimized by society. Their obsession and plotting leads to a violent act at a music concert, that will change how you regard ABBA’s Thank You For the Music forever.
I enjoyed this book, although I initially assumed that it we be about a cursed song or have supernatural element. It is instead a chilling portrait of how disaffection, bullying, and cruelty can lead to people rejecting societal norms and creating their own structures that make sense according to the way they view the world. It is worth reading if you like slow burn horror, and also if you have an interest in the Swedish music industry.
For a movie where a supernatural song curses those who hear it, I recommend White: Melody of Death. When the K-Pop group Pink Dolls finds themselves having little success, they move to a new studio and attempt to create a new image. Their producer finds a tape of a song hidden under the floorboards and decides it would be perfect for the band. When the song brings success but also death and destruction, Pink Dolls member En-Jun attempts trace the origin of the song and stop the curse.
There may not be a lot new in this film (if you have seen enough Asian horror films with cursed objects you can probably guess the plot points) but the world of K-Pop idol groups is a unique setting, and the movie has one shocking death that is worth the price of admission.