Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stieg Larsson

I just finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second book of the Millennium Trilogy. Here's a quick little synopsis from the author's website:

Lisbeth Salander is wanted for a triple murder. All three victims are connected to a trafficking exposé about to be published in Mikael Blomqvist’s magazine Millenium, and Lisbeth’s fingerprints are on the weapon. Lisbeth vanishes to avoid capture by the justice. Mikael, not believing the police, is despairingly trying to clear her name, using all his resources and the staff of his magazine. During this process, Mikael discovers Lisbeth’s past, a terrible story of abuse and traumatizing experiences growing up in the Swedish care system

Like the first book, this one is filled with suspense, drama and brilliant writing. I didn't like this one quite as much as the first but still plowed through it in a day and a half. My only problem with this book was the extensive and pretty unnecessary character list. I felt that there were just too many worthless characters that didn't contribute much to the story but added confusion with their "ssen" ending Swedish last names. I did like that this book ended with a cliffhanger. The first book very easily could have stood on it's own, but this one leaves the story unresolved which is making me crazy to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

As I was reading this book and after having read the first, I began to think a lot about the author, Stieg Larsson.  I was thinking, there's no doubt this man is incredibly smart and creative but to come up with these awful scenarios (that make the book what they are) he has to be somewhat deranged. So I decided to do some research and learn about the man behind these incredible books. 
It turns out Stieg Larsson was far from deranged, he was actually the opposite, he wrote about these subjects as a way to bring awareness to issues in Sweden that he was extremely passionate about. When Larsson was 14 years old he witnessed three men rape a young girl which fueled his position as an active feminist as well as inspired these books. Stieg was a notorious left-wing activist in Sweden and was under constant threat from opposing groups. He met his life-long partner, Eva Gabrielsson, at a Anti-Vietnam rally and was with her for over thirty years. Larsson was also the founder and Chief Editor of a magazine, Expo, which leads me to believe that character Mikael Blomqvist is loosely based on himself. Larsson had outlines for a series of ten books, which he started by writing three. It wasn't until the first three books were completed that Larsson got in touch with a publisher and finally worked out a contract. In November of 2004, six months after the contracts were complete, Stieg Larsson died suddenly of a heart attack. Two months after that the first book was published.  There are rumors that the beginning and end of the fourth book are written and can be found on Larsson's laptop which is currently in Eva's possession. The hope is that Eva would be able to complete the fourth book, something she isn't willing to do until she is granted full rights to Larsson's work. Because they were not married, Eva received absolutely nothing after his death. She wants nothing to do with the money but wants to be responsible for his work. I found a super interesting interview with Eva Gabrielsson, it's a little long but if you're interested in these books and the man behind them I highly recommend watching it. Check it out HERE

All information was found on


Laura said...

I hope you get the 3rd book started soon!! it's my favorite of all.. it's intense.. so much going on.. Did you know Stieg Larsson is from the area where we're living now??? haha :) they are going to have a statue put in for him in the near future.

Leanne said...

I completely agree with your review of the second book. I'm excited for the third, but I want to wait until it comes out in paperback.