In November of last year my mystery book discussion group read the popular title The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. At the time I was reluctant to recommend it as a book discussion title because I had a problem with either the style or the editing of this book. The book seemed bloated to me and repeated too much information. I though better editing could have made it slimmer, trimmer, leaner and meaner.
Not unlike Lisbeth Salandar, the girl who is slimmer, trimmer, leaner and meaner.
How come I cannot stop thinking about this character? How come I rushed to read the second book in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire? How come I rushed into the workroom the other day to make a staff member and a volunteer talked about the second book after I had finished reading it? How come I have a reservation to read the next book in the series which will not be published until May of this year?
Perhaps the reason is that I know nothing about Sweden so the setting is appealing to me. Perhaps it is that I know little about economics or mathematics, two of the sidebars in the first two books.
I think the real reason is The Girl Who. I have read about similar characters in the works of Carol O’Connell or Denise Mina. I still can remember the characters in The Caveman’s Valentine or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. These works all feature characters challenged by things that happened to them in life but yet left them with the gumption to continue to try to make a difference.
It should not surprise me that Lisbeth Salander is a character I am curious about. What surprised me is the fierce loyalty to her I have also found in the other readers I have talked to about this series.
So while I still think that book one and two could have been slimmer, trimmer, leaner and meaner, I know that these two books will generate a discussion in any group willing to read a Swedish thriller with an elevated level of violence and sexuality.
And, in May, we can talk about book three.