I Always Find You is the second book in the Locations trilogy by Swedish author, John Ajvide Lindqvist.
The previous book was “I am behind you” and it deals with the same existential questions as the first book, but this time from the perspective of the Author himself, who tells the story of his life as a budding magician and the creepy things that happened to him while living in an apartment block.
“Why do we become what we become? The simple answer is that we are the sum of the choices we have made, the actions we have carried out. But why did we make those particular choices, carry out those particular actions? We have to go further and further back—like a child who keeps repeating ‘But why?’—until we reach the maternity ward and what took place there.”
I Always Find You is supposedly ‘semi-autobiographical’ in that the main character is the author himself, aged 19. He’s a down-on-his luck magician who moves into a pokey little flat, only to find that it’s a weirder place than he first imagined. For starters, there’s the feeling of pressure that pervades the place. Then, there’s the strange shower-room downstairs; and let’s not even get started about the stuff that oozes out of the cracks in there…
His story is interrupted in places by another story he writes (a story within a story) about a boy he once knew that he met in the forest and was the inspiration for Let the right one in
This boy was special – in the sense that he came from another place and had his fingers broken, was filled with puss and wounds that festered and had an interesting blackness coming out of his nose like a snail.
In John’s present day (SEPTEMBER 1985), we can see him living in a cramped and dark farmhouse on Luntmakargatan in Stockholm, wall to wall with the Brunkeberg tunnel. (which also appears in both Let the right one in and “I am behind you” as a place where dark things are born)
John wants to create a career as a restaurant magician. A few weeks later he is taken for shoplifting at Åhléns and spends one night in detention. The next day, a shift can be felt in his life. Birds fall from the sky (just as they have nothing to fly into) and his neighbors behave strangely. He has to break a seagull’s neck and the dead birds accumulate – only to be cleaned up by an elderly man in the evenings.
He soon discovers that there is something in the locked shower room at the bottom of the laundry room, which can allow someone to move to the “other place” and make their dreams come true. Surprisingly, the “Other Place” is the same spot where he went with the boy from his childhood and also features a incomplete design of never-ending grass under a blue cloud-less sky. Sound familiar? Yep – same place as book 1 but no trailers can be seen anywhere.
In order to travel to the new place, the person would have to give a little bit of blood. When John eventually takes part in the night business, he is drawn into a stream of magic, violence and community that culminates in the murder of Olof Palme – the prime minister.
This second book is a prequel to John Ajvide Lindqvist’s last novel Himmelstrand (I am behind you). It is a story of our pursuit of truth and togetherness and the price we are willing to pay, about Stockholm in the mid-1980s, trolling and social democracy. It is the second part of the trilogy “The Places” which will end with “X the last place”.
On a personal note, I didn’t like this book as much as the first one and I think some of the bizarre character analysis has been lost on this one.