Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Super-Smart Noir with a Feminist Jolt"

Who can resist a headline like that one, from NPR? I heard this book review yesterday of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, a Swedish author and activist who died in 2004. His book was a major hit in Europe, and now it's been translated into English. It sounds like a terrific read for brainy, thinking women like us.

Here's a short excerpt from the review:
The social vulnerability of women is the underlying Mystery with a capital "M" here; specifically the abuse — psychological and sexual — that's perpetrated against young and dependent women. Very late in the novel, one of our main characters, a reporter named Mikael Blomkvist, asks a serial murderer whose victims are often female emigrants to Sweden the simple question: "Why?" The monster calmly answers, "Because it's so easy."
So, on the one hand, the book presents women as victims. That's an all-too-familiar story

But there is also a female hero, "24-year-old brilliant computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander. Salander is a pierced, tattooed, painfully thin Goth with major attitude problems. She's also the gal pal you want on your side when the creeps slither out from under their rocks. * * * Salander doesn't smile, knock back boilermakers or eat moose burgers. She's not out to win friends or votes. But I'm betting that this offbeat bad girl will win a lot of readers' affections."

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