The Girl Who...

Hu
Hugh
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Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:33 pm Post

Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy: has anybody read it?

I'm about a third of the way through the second book. It shouldn't work. The plot is meandering and the thriller element comes and goes; I'm up to page 180 and nothing much has happened yet. The prose isn't sparkling (possibly that is a consequence of the translation) and the dialogue is bland. There are some really mystifying descriptions — for example, meal menus, detailed specs of the hero's and heroine's Apple Macs, and an entire Ikea shopping list — and although there's some sex and violence, there's nothing that really pushes the envelope. We learn a certain amount about modern Sweden, especially its dark underside, but not as much as from the Henning Mankell detective novels. I do not get the sense of a unique place that the Mankell novels provide.

One issue of interest for readers of "how-to-write" books: the point-of-view can switch quite sharply within a scene.

There is hat-tipping which I like to the world of hackery, which is very accurately depicted. The characterisation of the two key figures is quite interesting: one is a middle-aged world-weary male financial journalist (though he seems able to have sex with any woman of any age at the drop of hat, in a kind of teenage fantasy manner), and the other is The Girl - a young, autodidactic, Asperger's, bisexual, chess-playing, Goth, computer hacker with almost super-heroine smarts. Different, yes, but in what is in other ways a highly naturalistic setting..?

And yet... somehow it more or less hangs together in an entertaining way. For me, anyway. And, apparently for 25 million other purchasers.

I just haven't worked out quite how, so far.

H
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
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kewms
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Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:05 pm Post

I've read the first one, haven't felt inspired to pick up the others. It's a pretty conventional thriller/mystery plot, distinguished by a somewhat unique protagonist and (to Americans) setting. It's sold 25 million copies because lots of people like that sort of thing, plus it's had a great marketing campaign, plus it's just "edgy" enough for that to be a selling point, not a negative.

Katherine

PS FWIW, I found Mankell boring, and didn't finish the only book of his that I've read.
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bobueland
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Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:27 pm Post

I've read all three in just a couple of nights because I couldn't put them down. What got me was the descriptions of the characters, they were alive and somebody I could relate to, and not just the main character but all the characters. I was mesmerized with Lisbeth, she was the main reason for wanting to know more. It was all beliavable and showed the dark side as well of the good side of the people and not idealizing like some books. All in all, very good books. If you like the books and get a taste for Swedish authors, try the Crusades Trilogy by Jan Guillou. The first book is called "The Road to Jerusalem.
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gr
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Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:16 am Post

I bought the first, borrowed the second from the library and am waiting for the third from the library. Great stuff in many respects, I felt -- very different. For me, as a journalist, former police rounds reporter, special writer and small publisher, the worlds described are very realistic and warts and all. The hero journalist bloke, Blomquist(?), is a bit of a dumb-arse but Lisbeth rings true and is very consistent throughout.

Cheers, geoff

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monkquixote
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Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:54 pm Post

I haven't read the latter two yet, but I thought the (Swedish) film did a much better job of telling the story than the book did. I felt the book was harder work than it should have been - too many characters, too much detail not advancing the main plot. I'm not sure it's that much better than any of the other big crime writers around at the mo - although I guess having the hero as a journalist and a hacker puts this into 'thriller' rather than crime per se.

His original intention was to write a ten parter, wasn't it? He had some typing stamina....
Ivan
----
Writes anecdotal whimsy, misanthropic nonsense and black satire. Black Ant Sense Trophy, if you will. Or Miss Whimsy Dotes. Whatever. http://monkquixote.com