Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Millenium Trilogy - The Girl who Played with Fire

Yes! I finished the second novel from Stieg Larsson's famous Millenium trilogy and I am a human possessed. This guy is just so good that I have no words to explain it. Well, I will try of course but I am still excited and amazed. The Girl who Played with Fire ended so unexpectedly that it prompts the reader to grab the next book immediately. Unfortunately, I was in the gym and I wasn't able to do so, which resulted in 10 more minutes (which seemed like ages) when I was contemplating the fact that I didn't take the third novel as well.

In The Girl who Played with Fire we meet again Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, our favorite investigating couple. The case from the first book is long gone, but its reflection on the two characters and on their destinies is still obvious. Larsson again focuses on a crime connected to sexual violence. Blomkvist and Salander are trapped in a life-or-death situation, where they investigate trade with sexual slaves and under-age prostitutes from the Soviet republics. The crime is connected to Lisbeth's secret past, about which Larsson only hinted in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I won't spoil the fun; I will just say that nothing in the book is what you expect it to be. I find most contemporary criminal novels highly predictable. Well, Larsson is nothing like that. He just takes you, swipes you of your feet, and then presents you with a solution that seems so logical. It is drawn on the events that have preceded it and it is never something that comes up out of the blue. The Swedish journalist simply possesses a great imagination, an enviable touch for details, and an enthralling style. Combined, these qualities make him a must-read novelist for each one of you that enjoy a really good piece of literature. Being even a criminal novel.

While I was reading the first two novels, I kept thinking - why is Larsson so obsessed and disgusted with sexual violence crimes? I researched it a bit and I found an interesting fact. When he was 15 he witnessed a gang raping a young girl, named Lisbeth. He never forgave himself for not being able to prevent the crime. Obviously, he named his heroine after that girl.

Another thing that grabbed my attention is a little bit more trivial. Whenever Michael or Lisbeth are in the process of investigating or thinking about the crimes (and this is most of the times) they make a coffee and sandwiches. I can't remember how many times I read the phrase "he (she) made coffee and sandwiches and..." but it was A LOT. I know it may sound stupid but it was one of those things that kept sticking up in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I noticed it. I have my own interpretation of the fact. Larsson, like Michael, is an investigative journalist. Probably, the author here draws from his own experience. It is funny though, as if the only food these people are eating is sandwiches. They surely help with the brain action, or at least that is what Mr. Larsson believes.

This time, the title of The Girl who Played with Fire is the same in Swedish, English, and Bulgarian. No unauthorized liberties from the English translators here.

I already started the last novel, The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. I am both excited and disappointed. I just do not want it to be over. I have enjoyed the trilogy so much that I feel I can keep reading about Michael and Lisbeth for quite a long time.

On the brighter side, The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is the longest novel. This means nearly 700 pages of blissful enjoyment.

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