Stieg Larsson’s third and final book in the Lisbeth Salander series has just been published and is, predictably, #1 on Amazon’s bestselling list (I just checked: you get only the most current news on bookstorepeople.com). The New York Times just ran an amazing piece on the late author and the battle over his estate, which I recommend you read if you’re interested in his back story or you just like to see lots of photos of healthy looking Swedes in little round glasses. (Are little round glasses a requirement for Swedish citizenship? I’m just wondering.)
Anyway, all the real life intrigue you could want is in that piece: the mystery of whether Larsson’s girlfriend really ghost-wrote the book (she was a better writer than he was, according to some of those interviewed), whether his death was an assassination because he was a well-known journalist with a crusade against the right wing, and whether a fourth book is forthcoming (a large part of it supposedly has been written–but whether by Stieg or his girlfriend is up for debate).
Me, I’m just going to talk about the books, all of which I’ve read. I think I mentioned in my post about Italy that my husband scored a copy of the European edition of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest over our vacation there. (Side note: it’s “hornet’s nest” in the American edition. Anyone care to debate where the apostrophe should go?) I grabbed it and read it before he could (which gives you a fair amount of insight into our relationship and, yes, he is long-suffering), for one reason and one reason only:
Those three books are pretty much the best vacation reading ever.
Which isn’t to say I love them. I don’t actually. I have huge problems with all three books, the main one being that while Lisbeth Salander is a fantastic, brilliant, fascinating character, no one else in the books is memorable. Really. Even the “hero,” Mikael Blomkvist, never came alive for me. He’s handsome, I guess, because every woman in the books wants to sleep with him, and he’s a player because he goes ahead and sleeps with them all, and he, like Larsson, is a crusader against evil conspiracies . . . but I never believed in him. Not the way I did in Lisbeth. Which, by the way, is why I liked the second book best and the third one least: the second one had the most Lisbeth, the third one the least amount of her.
As for all the other characters . . . I don’t know. They just didn’t make an impression on me. Blomkvist’s long term girlfriend is married to a guy who’s bisexual and they all seem okay with the various relationships which is kind of cool (and seems very European to me) but I never got a good feel for her. She was smart and tough: I know because Larsson basically tells you so. But I didn’t care about her, or about almost anyone in the book except Lisbeth. But I LOVED her. Read the rest of this entry »