Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Comments: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson

MacLehose Press (an imprint of Quercus), 2009. ISBN 978-1-906694-16-6. 601 p.
English translation by Reg Keeland

There are many excellent and perceptive reviews of this last book in the Millennium trilogy so I am going to limit myself to a few observations. I have included links to some reviews at the end of this post.

  • Being monolingual, I can't compare the original Swedish to the English translation but Keeland has made it a smooth, natural read. I wouldn't have thought that it was as translation.

  • Bernadette at Reactions to Reading (link below) puts it in the journalistic and legal thriller genres. I would add that there is also a some spy thriller and I wouldn't have minded a bit more police procedural action.

  • Part 1 was interesting and kept my attention but starting with part 2, binge reading took me over and found it difficult to stop. I was sorry to turn the last page knowing that there wouldn't be another book in the series.

  • Larsson could be a bit pedantic and slip into lecture mode but I didn't mind. In fact, I'm astonished at how he kept me interested in detail about Swedish politics, the organization of the police forces, and Sweden's legal system.

  • Lisbeth Salander has less of a role than in the first two books but when she is there you are reminded what a unique character she is.

  • As I read, I wondered how much of Larsson's intent was to focus more on those willing to take risks to see justice for Salander thus intentionally putting her more in the background for much of the book. Salander does change a little (and grudgingly) at the end. This may be a "well duh" comment but it did run through my mind.

  • Larsson can really make you angry at the arrogant abuse of power.

  • I really enjoyed how the court room drama played out.

Highly recommended but don't start here. You need to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire first.

South London Books.
Maxine's Review at Euro Crime

Reactions To Reading
DJs Krimiblog
International Noir Fiction
Nick Cohen writing in The Observer section of Guardian UK


Dorte H said...

You have made some fine observations about Salander here. Her change was also what struck me when I read it the second time for my review. These changes make you wonder whether she is really an autist, or whether her autistic features have been caused by abuse and mistrust of anyone.

Bernadette in Australia said...

I do agree Mack that the anger Larsson induces at abuse of power is something terribly rare these days and quite a powerful side effect of the reading experience.

Thanks for the link :)

Mack said...

Dorte & Bernadette - thank you for the comments.

Dorte - I thought the beginnings of change in Salander's treatment of society was nicely done. Showing people rallying around her whether she wanted help on not set up her realization that there are times when you will have to owe others. I wonder where Larsson planned to take Salander.

Bernadette - Larsson's dramatic portrayal of the collusion of those with power to take away the rights of an individual and to manipulate the media to perpetuate the crime is scary. Few people have access to the kind of technological resources Salander could draw upon and are completely vulnerable to abuse of power.

R. T. said...

You've posted some wonderful comments about Larsson's books. I've read the first, I'm just now getting around to the second, and I look forward to the third (though--like you--I feel there is a difficulty in reading the author's final words).

Note: I've just discovered your blog--(I followed Dorte's lead and found it)--and I look forward to visiting often.

Uriah Robinson said...

I am reading this at the moment Mack and agree with your comments especially about the abuse of power.
We live in societies where some people think they can get away with any behaviour and the rest of us don't have any rights.
The manipulation of public opinion by the media is a very dangerous development and the books deal with that very well..