Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
What a roller-coaster ride this turned out to be. From the first pages of this second title in a 3-part series, I found myself insatiably curious about the motivations of these distinctive characters. If you met Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you will know what I mean by distinctive. Come to think of it, if you have read anything by Natsuo Kirino (Out, Real World), you probably know edgy comes in many shades and many nationalities. This one is special.
The book may be less about the "girl" than about a man--the reporter, Mikael Blomkvist. The story is distinctly from a man's point of view, though point of view shifts several times in the telling. The girl of the title appears to be a deeply dysfunctional social misfit who manages to instill an awed respect and fierce loyalty in many who work (or sleep) with her. Larsson may strong-arm the reader into caring for Lisbeth through his characters' voices--she makes no attempt to charm us. In the end, we do care about her, somehow, our sensibilities bruised, manipulated, satisfied. A model for Lisbeth is suggested in the translator's blog: Possible model?