Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Books Read

Coincidentally, the SMH yesterday republished an interview with the now-deceased author of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson. I was surprised to learn that the book's heroine, Lisbeth Salander, was inspired by Larsson's thoughts on what the iconic children's book character Pippi Longstocking would be like as an adult. Both Pippi and Lisbeth are figures who create chaos, leavened in Pippi's case by a healthy dose of humour and a warmth towards the society and population with which she lives. Lisbeth Salander is a hacker, physically strong, intelligent and capable of great violence, a character who embraces and exploits the chaos her actions create but who lacks the ability to laugh at herself or with others. She is Pippi gone wrong, Pippi caught by the policeman and taken out her own story, Pippi lost, silent, gone underground.

Larsson also commented that he aimed, in his trilogy, to integrate Swedish society into the story, to make the connections between individuals, events and social structures explicit. I think he succeeds in this. It makes a great excuse for anyone who feels slightly embarrassed about reading popular fiction....

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