Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stieg Larsson

I've just finished reading the second Stieg Larsson crime thriller, The Girl Who Played with Fire, on my iPod Touch, and am eagerly awaiting the e-book release May 25 of the third and last in the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Both Fire and the first in the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, are structural messes shot through with annoying minor flaws. But they are both riveting, primarily because Larsson (who died before the first book was published) wrote with such passion and created such a singular heroine in the alienated hacker Lisbeth Salander.

Larsson reminds me in some ways of Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel), an equally untidy novelist who nevertheless captivated his audience with the power of his lyrical prose. Like Wolfe, Larsson was an important character in his own books -- in real life he was a crusading journalist, just like Mikael Blomkvist, the dogged magazine reporter who serves as a foil to Salander.

The Sunday Times (of London) has just published an excellent profile of Larsson that brings up to date the story of his unfortunately just as messy personal legacy (he wallowed in self-destructive habits and left no will). It also hints at the existence of a fourth manuscript that has been caught up in family squabbles among Larsson's heirs.

Thanks to Miriam Berkley for the heads-up.

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