Mr. Bookdwarf has been kind enough to write some thoughts on Stieg Larsson’s forthcoming The Girl who Played with Fire, the second in the trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomquist:
It’s a familiar pleasure to be engrossed in a novel of any size or scope. But Larsson’s novels, particularly The Girl Who Played With Fire is gripping in a way that’s all too rare. It’s far, far more than a thriller, although it does thrill. And it’s far, far more than the work of a social-justice journalist dramatizing the themes of violence against women, although it’s certainly that as well.
The difference is in the characters. I’ve been lying awake at night worrying about Lisbeth Salander. Not just whether she’ll be able to prove that she’s innocent and sane, but worrying about her emotional well-being.Â I wonder, whatÂ would it be like to know her, to work with her? What would it be like to try to be her friend? How would I react if I were Blomkvist, trying to befriend her and having her react bafflingly to everything I do? What would it be like to be her, to slip undetected into electronic archives, to have her memory and her horrible past?Â I feel ridiculous doing it, but it’s also thrilling to let myself get pulled along by the narrative.
I even find myself hoping that Larsson has faked his death to throw pursuers or enemies off his trail,Â and that he’sÂ now hiding out in a cabin in northern Sweden, working on his next project. That, too, is completely ridiculous, but I like these novels enough that I just don’t care.