The Final Handling

For discussion of John Ajvide Lindqvist's short story collection Pappersväggar
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gareth1971
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The Final Handling

Post by gareth1971 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:50 pm

I have just finished reading this for the second time, and I'm sure quite a few of us have read it recently too ;)

Its a more satisfying end to Handling the Undead, in my opinion, and the fact that it features my favourite character from HTU is just a bonus!

What are other peoples opinions?

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StefL
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Re: The Final Handling

Post by StefL » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:24 pm

I obviously have to answer - I've been dying to be able to discuss this story since I've read it pretty thoroughly recently ;)
I can only agree that it provides a more satisfying end to Handling the Undead, even if we obviously have to accept JALs freedom as an artist to end that story as he wishes.

-- SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS --
Apart from resolving the matter of the reliving, this story somehow struck a tone with me in that it is also a really beautiful love story, about Kalle and Flora. In one sense one could make a parallel to LDRKI since it is about two people who are 'outsiders', Kalle as the only low status working class person in his family, and Flora with her unusual ability of seeing the 'inside' of people.
One thing I can't stop thinking about is how she says to Kalle when he goes to visit her and is really nervous something like "You don't have to be nervous because I know that you're good and I want to be with you". And Kalle later in the story reflects about this, how it somehow is everyone's wish that someone else should be able to look right inside you and know who you are. Man, haven't we all had this wish? I sure have...

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genie47
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Re: The Fianl Handling

Post by genie47 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:52 pm

I find Flora's ability to see inside people scary. It is somewhat like an invasion. She is like Counselor Troi from ST:TNG. :lol:

At the same time, I like it that she sees Kalle for what he is inside and accepts him as he is.
Låt den rätte komma in in both its printed and celluloid form is a slow acting poison. You will be poisoned white. White from arsenic and innocence.

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

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StefL
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Re: The Final Handling

Post by StefL » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:22 pm

genie47 wrote:I find Flora's ability to see inside people scary. It is somewhat like an invasion. She is like Counselor Troi from ST:TNG. :lol:

At the same time, I like it that she sees Kalle for what he is inside and accepts him as he is.
I see what you mean. Obviously it's scary to have someone being able to "read your mind", no doubt about that. What I meant was more that Flora is able to see through Kalle's outside and really understand him as the person he is. I think everyone has had this wish, which really means that the other person really sees your inner self and doesn't misunderstand you because of superficial properties.

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genie47
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Re: The Fianl Handling

Post by genie47 » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:08 am

One thing I find very interesting is the "Devourer of Souls" entity.

The description of him is strange. His belly is big from eating all the souls. JAL didn't identify him to us. Any such character in Swedish or Scandinavian mythology that fits his description?

Also, how did Sture get involved in this? Why did Sture submit to this entity's control?

JAL has got it quite right that Death herself is a friend. Who saw to it that the soul is freed from the body to freely roam and should not be feared. In accordance to nature, life and death are everyday happenings. Natural and good.

The love between Kalle and Flora is beautiful. Though Kalle didn't have Flora's abilities, he appreciated that she can accept him as he is. Flora though in a way can be a superior "mutant", she didn't force the mission upon Kalle.

In a way, it is like Oskar and Eli all over again. I would think in the new epilogue of LDRKI, Eli is going to ask Oskar the very same way as Flora did. And Oskar will come to a realization just the same way that Kalle come to a realization of how the perspective of life changes with love. Kalle is messy but he for Flora, he did the little things to make it better for her.
Låt den rätte komma in in both its printed and celluloid form is a slow acting poison. You will be poisoned white. White from arsenic and innocence.

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

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StefL
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Re: The Final Handling

Post by StefL » Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:34 pm

genie47 wrote:One thing I find very interesting is the "Devourer of Souls" entity.
The description of him is strange. His belly is big from eating all the souls. JAL didn't identify him to us. Any such character in Swedish or Scandinavian mythology that fits his description?
No, there's no resemblance that I can make out between this entity and any mythological figure in our myths. The only thing we have is the ancient mythology about the Asir, i.e. Odin, Thor and that lot, and their perpetual struggle against the giants. But this figure I believe is entirely a creation of JAL's own imagination. It's also interesting how he just as in LTROI leaves a lot of the background to the reader to figure out or imagine after his/her own fashion.
genie47 wrote: Also, how did Sture get involved in this? Why did Sture submit to this entity's control?
That puzzled me too, and there's no definite answer in the story. The only thing I can think about is that Sture somehow is convinced that there is something in the way they choose to deal with the reliving that will eventually gain the "greater good" of humanity. Remember that Sture from what we learn (partly indirectly) is a utilitarian, as is his daughter (Kalle's half sister) Rebecka. But I still find it really odd how the "visitor" has convinced the scientists to carry out the process that is described in the final scene of the book - electrocuting the reliving, cutting their spine and wait for the caterpillar to emerge. Perhaps somehow the caterpillar isn't visible to everyone, that could be a part of the explanation.
genie47 wrote:The love between Kalle and Flora is beautiful. Though Kalle didn't have Flora's abilities, he appreciated that she can accept him as he is. Flora though in a way can be a superior "mutant", she didn't force the mission upon Kalle.

In a way, it is like Oskar and Eli all over again. I would think in the new epilogue of LDRKI, Eli is going to ask Oskar the very same way as Flora did. And Oskar will come to a realization just the same way that Kalle come to a realization of how the perspective of life changes with love. Kalle is messy but he for Flora, he did the little things to make it better for her.
In one way you may be right, but it's also very different from Eli and Oskar. Flora is a normal human as well, and I picture her and Kalle having a beautiful life together with children etc.

PS - just as someone asked about another thread - would it be possible to rename it correctly, i.e "The Final Handling"? ;)

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genie47
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Re: The Fianl Handling

Post by genie47 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:44 pm

Only gareth can edit the OP and the title.
Låt den rätte komma in in both its printed and celluloid form is a slow acting poison. You will be poisoned white. White from arsenic and innocence.

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

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Wolfchild
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Re: The Final Handling

Post by Wolfchild » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:04 pm

genie47 wrote:Only gareth can edit the OP and the title.
Wrong. ;)
...the story derives a lot of its appeal from its sense of despair and a darkness in which the love of Eli and Oskar seems to shine with a strange and disturbing light.
-Lacenaire

Visit My LTROI fan page.

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genie47
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Re: The Final Handling

Post by genie47 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:15 pm

Forgot about the mod powers.
Låt den rätte komma in in both its printed and celluloid form is a slow acting poison. You will be poisoned white. White from arsenic and innocence.

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

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lombano
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Re: The Final Handling

Post by lombano » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:33 pm

What about the other stories in Paper Walls? To my personal taste, The Final Handling doesn't sound very promising, it sounds like it explains too much and I wasn't that keen on Flora as a character anyway (I liked the Elvy-Flora subplot in HTU the least, while for me the Mahlers' subplot was the best).
Bli mig lite.

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