The Girl with the Trilogy

June 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

So I used to be all about mystery fiction or TV like Law and Order or CSI or movies like that cruddy Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling one, and though I still watch The Closer and Bones, my thriller/suspense/mystery/detective love really just isn’t there anymore.  Probably cause I’ve seen so many I can pretty much guess the killer before I know who the victim is or because things just don’t surprise me anymore.  And because I am definitely the type of person–yes, I can admit it–that hates things everyone else likes, sometimes on principal, but mostly cause everyone else is usually wrong, I was very surprised to find that I could not put down the first installation of Swedish writer Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I mean, this is a type of book my mother would like, not me, you know, cause I am 22 and can definitely not be anything like my mother.  But I found myself at 1:00 am in my bed with only the lamp on, and my husband snoring very loudly and obnoxiously next to me, reading the thriller and trying to figure out what happened.

The thing with the books that make them so enjoyable is that Larsson has the ability to do what other writers can not, and that to create multiple story lines that attract and hold the reader’s attention.   It’s one of those books that will tell a part of the story in a third-person viewpoint of a character and before the chapter is over it switches story lines to a completely different character who may be but probably is not related to the previous thread.  Usually it’s annoying, because you find yourself caught up with the movement only to have it interrupted by a pretty boring second story that you only read to get to the next part of that first story line that you’re only interested in.  Like in Richard Powers’ Galatea 2.2.  I loved the book, but the story about C sometimes drug itself in the ground.

But Stieg Larsson writes in such a way that I am very interested in every story line and every character that he writes about.  So when one is cut short, I think, “Dang, I want to know what happens.  But oh well, now I get to figure out what happens with this one.”

I have a pretty strong aversion to trilogies or sagas or sequels, but even though I’ve read the first two books in about a week and a half, let me just say they do not disappoint.  And I definitely am anxiously awaiting what is going to happen in the third.

I know, this is a pretty lame book review. Since I’ve started this blog at the beginning of the year with the intention to blog mostly about books, I have been searching for some novel to keep my attention, and now that I’ve finally found one, you’d think I’d want to do the books more justice than what I’ve written here, and probably I will once I finish the third, but it’s one of those series that is tricky for me to review.

I don’t worship the writing style or the articulate-ness of Larsson as I do Jane Austen or Edith Wharton or Ernest Hemingway, but the series definitely is not as atrocious as Stephenie Meyer’s.  The thriller plot is not as predictable as the TV show Castle’s one-hour plot line or as science-fiction-y as Stephen King.  It’s almost normal.  And Larsson doesn’t just focus on the mystery, like Law & Order sets out to solve a murder without really weaving any story of the characters.  Larsson develops his characters and rounds them off with motivations and personalities and character traits, so it’s like I’m reading about real people, believable characters, doing very realistic things.

I just think it’s funny that this new favorite series of mine was originally written in Sweden, and it makes me wonder if I ever will find any American writer to admire.


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