Possible inspiration for Ávila

For discussion of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Låt den rätte komma in
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Siggdalos
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Possible inspiration for Ávila

Post by Siggdalos » Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:25 pm

At the 2018 Gothenburg Book Fair, JAL was interviewed by Lärarpodden (a podcast aimed at Swedish school teachers) about his then-recently released book Misslyckas igen, misslyckas bättre and his writing methods. At the 11:15 mark, he says this:
Intervjuare: Har du haft nån lärare som har betytt nånting?
JAL: Inte för mitt skrivande, men för mig som människa, för att överleva överhuvudtaget, så var min mattelärare i grundskolan i högstadiet oerhört betydelsefull därför att han var så... Han var en manlig förebild. Han var en riktig plysch-man och hade såna här manchesterkostymer. Han var så mjuk och hade så mild röst, och han var väldigt uppmuntrande och vänlig. Jag hade det jävligt risigt i skolan, ungefär som jag skildrat i Låt den rätte komma in—minus vampyren, då—men han var ett ljus bara i egenskap av att finnas där. Han var inte den som gick till botten med problemet med de här mobbarna, men har var i alla fall någon som uppmärksammade det och pratade om det. Han var en förebild som människa. Annars kan jag inte säga att det är någon... Tyvärr. Det vore jättebra om jag hade nån skön story om en lärare som har betytt jättemycket för mig. Det gjorde ju han, men inte på det sättet.
My translation:
Interviewer: Have you hade any teacher who's been meaningful to you?
JAL: Not for my writing, but for me as a person, to even survive at all, my math teacher in högstadiet [grade 7-9, age 13-15] was incredibly meaningful because he was so... He was a male role model. He wore these corduroy suits and was so soft and had such a mild voice, and he was very encouraging and kind. My time in school was pretty shitty, roughly like I've depicted in Let the Right One In—minus the vampire, that is—but he was a point of light just by being there. He wasn't the one who got to the bottom of the problem with these bullies, but he was at least someone who acknowledged it and talked about it. He was a role model as a person. Otherwise I can't say that there have been any... Unfortunately. It'd be great if I had some nice story about a teacher who's meant a lot to me. He did, of course, but not in that way.
I don't think it's farfetched to guess that this math teacher served as a partial basis for Mr. Ávila. John's description of him obviously sounds very different from Ávila in terms of personality, but the role he played for John seems pretty similar to the role Ávila plays for Oskar throughout LTROI.
De höll om varandra i tystnad. Oskar blundade och visste: detta var det största. Ljuset från lyktan i portvalvet trängde svagt in genom hans slutna ögonlock, la en hinna av rött för hans ögon. Det största.

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Jameron
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Re: Possible inspiration for Ávila

Post by Jameron » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:41 pm

John's teacher sounds more like Mr Zoric in Let Me In than Mr Avila.

.
"For a few seconds Oskar saw through Eli’s eyes. And what he saw was … himself. Only much better, more handsome, stronger than what he thought of himself. Seen with love."

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gkmoberg1
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Re: Possible inspiration for Ávila

Post by gkmoberg1 » Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:03 am

Thank you for finding this. And for the translation :!:

I can see how Mr. Ávila from the novel reflects this remembrance by JAL. The experiences of this school years sound ominous.

( Cheers to @dongregg for building his stories around a similarly openly supportive Mr. Ávila )

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