Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book(s) of the week - Stieg Larson's Millennium Trilogy

This week I have picked the Millennium Trilogy by the late Swedish author Stieg Larson as the Book(s) of the week. You can't just read one of the books. Once you have started "the girl with the dragon tattoo", you will want to read all of them.

The trilogy is about the financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, a genius and societal outsider. The 2 characters cannot be any different to each other but yet work brilliantly together. In "the girl with the dragon tattoo" Lisbeth Salander helps to Mikael Blomkvist to solve mysterious disappearance of a family member of a Swedish business man.
In "The girl who played with fire" and "The girl who kicked the hornet's nest", Mikael helps Lisbeth to clear the murder charges against herself and tries to bring down a secret government organisation.

I have always loved the Swedish crime books of Kurt Wallander by Henning Mankell. I was keen to see how Larson's books would be. It was so different to the Kurt Wallander series.
The first book "girl with the dragon tattoo" was not as exciting as you might expect from a crime book. However I was fascinated by the depth that Stieg Larson uses to describe the characters and could put the book down. I felt like I would really know the main characters. In the end, I understood Lisbeth's thinking and her issues. Don't get me wrong, the books are exciting, gripping and addictive. I spent many nights reading until 2 am and I was upset once I finished the third book.

Unfortunately Stieg Larson died of a heart attack only a few months before "the girl with the dragon tattoo" was published, at the age of only 50. There are rumours that the character of Michael Blomkvist is based on himself. Larson was also a financial journalist and owner of a magazine.
Larson told an interview before his death that the parts of Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking were his inspiration for Lisbeth Salander. He said "Pippi Longstocking, a dysfunctional girl, probably with attention deficit disorder who would have had a hard time finding a regular place in the normal society". In my view, he did a brilliant job to show those characteristics in Lisbeth.

I certainly hope that there will be at least another book. Larson has partly finished a fourth book prior to his death and there are rumours that he had material for 5 more books on his laptop. However due to ongoing legal battles around the legal rights of his books between his family and his partner of 32 years, I don't think we will see the fourth book in the book stores any time soon.

For my German readers, the books have published under the names "Verblendung", "Verdammnis" and "Vergebung".

Read the Millennium Trilogy but be aware that you won't get much sleep during that time.

PS: Watch out for the movie "The girl with the dragon tattoo"

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