LA Times Reviews The Girl Who Kicked The Hornest’s Nest

The LA Times reviews Larsson’s latest book, which came out a while ago in French, but will be soon released in English.

Simply put, Salander is a deeply radicalized feminist, portrayed in a manner designed to test the sympathies of a largely liberal-minded audience, the attention of which is diverted by the blur of his books’ nonstop action. Implicitly, Larsson asks us whether the understanding we normally, casually extend to the principles Salander acts upon can also extend to a character who so heedlessly exemplifies them.

The Afterlife of the Stieg Larsson Books

A great long form article about the Stieg Larsson Millennium books. The books were released a while ago in French, so I read them all. I recently also watched the Swedish movies that were made based upon these books.

The article is about the Larsson family and Stieg’s literary estate. His live-in spouse, to whom Larsson wasn’t married, has no rights to the books or the movies. The rights, money and estate are now managed by Larsson’s somewhat estranged father and brother. However, Gabrielsson retains Larsson’s laptop, which contains ¾ of a 4th Millennium book. It has been surmised that since Larsson worked on more than one at a time, that a good portion of the 5th and 6th Millennium books is also written. Initially, Stieg Larsson wanted Millennium to be a series of 10 books.

The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire

I just finished watching the second movie of the Millennium trilogy.This movie, just like the book on which it is based on, centers on who exactly Lisbeth Salander is. The first movie didn’t really go that much into the sordid details of her past, but we know that they were there. Mikael Blomkvist barely touches them.

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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist

Last night, I took the time to watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or the more appropriate title, Men Who Hate Women. Having read the books last year in French, I had been trying to find the movies. It took a while for them to be released and for me to find them. Yesterday, I also discovered that all three Stieg Larsson books were made into movies last year in Sweden. I’m sure that an English version is under way, but I have to say that the Swedish film is pretty good.

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La reine dans le palais des courants d’air

Easter basically resumed itself by me reading the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I was a bit disappointed that the 3rd volume was simply the second part of La fille qui rêvait d’un bidon d’essence et d’une allumette.

It’s sad that Larsson is dead, because his opus seemed to be only the beginning of the story. Most of the action takes place within a year and a half, so the characters have evolved, but not as much if another series of novels would take place five years later.

Blomkvist is a serial womanizer, but a journalist with a lot of integrity, who wants to find corruption in Sweden and expose it in his political magazine, Millenium. From what I’ve read, it seems that the 3rd volume, which I just finished, will be printed in English only next year.

The French version has been thoroughly made French via the dialogue. What I mean is that the dialogues are like those of a French author. This is also a bit annoying and I’m sure that there will be a difference between the translations. The way that some of the characters talk is a bit too infantile. They speak like teenagers, and they are 40-somethings working in the media. I probably think that an English translation from the UK would be much more appropriate. The dialogue would be more appropriate. I’m thinking that it would be much more accurate than the French translation.

However, this series of book is really good. It took me three days to read close to 2000 pages. Even so, I really liked reading them in French. It was fun and I need to stock up on some French books before leaving Quebec. For me to set aside In Cold Blood to read this trilogy over the weekend is a good indicator to others that these books are a gread read. Once again, I deplore the fact that Larsson is dead. There are more stories to be told about Blomkvist and Salander. It’s too bad that he won’t be able to tell them.

The first book, Les hommes qui n’aimaient pas les femmes, tells us the story about a hidden serial killer in Sweden, whose hunt starts up by the search for a girl that disappeared by then disgraced journalist Blomkvist. In the course of his investigation, he meets Salander, a hacker, who helps him out to do research.

The second book, La fille qui rêvait d’un bidon d’essence et d’une allumette, tells us the story of Lisbeth Salander, how she was framed for the murder of two Millenium journalists and her legal tutor and how Blomkvist tries to exonerate her.

The third book, La reine dans le palais des courants d’air, goes into Salander’s trial and the conspiracy that led a secret police agency to try and box her for the rest of her life. This secret police agency works outside the framework of government and congressional oversight, so it’s illegal.

Books 2 and 3 form a continuous narration, meaning that they are basically the same book, only spread over 1300 pages. Book 1 is clearly distinct and about a year passes between book 1 and 2.

Continue reading “La reine dans le palais des courants d’air”

La fille qui rêvait d’un bidon d’essence et d’une allumette

French translation of Stieg Larssons 2nd Millenium book
French translation of Stieg Larsson's 2nd Millenium book

At exactly 1AM last night, I finished Les hommes qui n’aimaient pas les femmes, the first part of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium triolgy. There are many things I like about this book and there are a few questions that I have. Mainly, I have a hard time understanding why this series of books is so popular. The books are good, I’ve just started La fille qui rêvait d’un bidon d’essence et d’une allumette and I’ve read about 100 pages. I like reading it in French. It’s hard to find French books abroad, especially in Asia. I found that I was a bit rusty and reading a 574-page French book took me about double what an English language book of the same length would have taken me, which was about 7 hours.

The English translation was just released in January ’09. The French translation first appeared in 2006. I got up this morning, checked my feeds and then got dressed, before making sure that the local library, Le Comptoir du Livre, had the book in stock and was open. It was about 10:45AM. I also bought La reine dans le palais des courants d’air, the 3rd tome of the Millenium trilogy, which will be available in English only in January ’10.

The books tell the story of Mikael Bloomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and their quest to right wrongs. In the first book, the intrigue was financial and economic before rapidly evolving into the hunt of a killer. I’m a fan of the Wallander series that Yellow Bird produced last year for the BBC. I was happy to find out that the first movie of the series was released early this year. It won’t be long before the DVDs come out and an English subtitled version comes out. I don’t think the Hollywood version will be any good.

The books are good. They aren’t superb, but they are entertaining and intriguing. The pacing is interesting and the way that Larsson tells the story is good. I can enumerate dozens of books that I liked more. There is something about them though. Something that made me read the first book in a day and buy the other volumes this morning. More on this later, when I write my review.

Continue reading “La fille qui rêvait d’un bidon d’essence et d’une allumette”

Les hommes qui n’aimaient pas les femmes

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo French translation cover image
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo French translation cover image

Män som hatar kvinnor is the title of Stieg Larsson’s first Millenium book, which roughly translates into Men who Hate Women. The French title, Les hommes qui n’aimaient pas les femmes, is a bit longer but a lot more accurate than the English translated title, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The English title refers to Lisbeth Salander’s tattoo, which covers part of her back and is naturally of a dragon. It doesn’t make much sense. The only thing that I can think of is that it’s in tune with the other titles of the series, making reference to a girl.

Stieg Larsson died in 2004 from a violent heart attack. He had just handed the three volumes of Millenium to his editor. The English translation appeared in about 2005. The French followed in 2006 and it’s taken a while for the literary hysteria to sweep through Québec. Since September ’08, libraries can’t stock enough of this book.

I finally succumbed to the book when I went to my local book store. The trouble in Québec is that you have to go to specialized stores to get English books. This isn’t true in Montréal, where you can get loads of English books at Chapter’s and Indigo. But in Québec City, you are shit out of luck.

I have a rule. I always try to read books in their original language. This is why most of the books I read are in English. One of my favorite science-fiction writers is Maurice Dantec, a Frenchman who’s living in Montreal. His books are hard to find, but they are good. I really loved Babylon Babies, the book upon which Babylon AD was based. Just to mention that Babylon AD sucked ass, even though Matthiew Kassovitz directed it.

So I can’t read translated books when those are French versions of original texts which are in English. Since the Millenium trilogy was written in Swedish, it didn’t really pose any problems to that rule.

As I went through the bookstore, I couldn’t really find any of Dantec’s books that I wanted. I found American Black Box, the 3rd volume of his journals. I found Cosmos Incorporated, the book that I had finished a few weeks ago already.

I looked at the pile of Stieg Larsson books and decided to try one out. The main reason was that I was going grocery shopping and wasting an hour or two in the local shops, reading, eating and taking things easy. This is one of my weekly or biweekly habits. I enjoy this. In Cold Blood was in my bag in my apartment, so I needed something else to read.

I usually shun popular books, but I decided to go ahead and try it out. I’ve only read a few chapters and I am intrigued. Today, for Good Friday, I plan on reading some more and maybe dropping by a church nearby.