January 20, 2011

The Girl Who is Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth Salander is the heroine introduced to us in Steig Larsson's books collectively called The Millennium Trilogy. The series consists of three page turning thrillers: 1) The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, 2) The Girl Who Played With Fire and 3) The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. I suggest reading the books in succession as I know a few people who didn't (I have no idea why they did it that way) and they didn't appreciate the flow of the plot as well.

The series is an intricately woven web which combines murder mystery, financial crime, computer hacking, sex trafficking, conspiracy theories and courtroom drama. It's author, Swedish writer, Steig Larsson is a gifted writer who also educates the reader in Swedish law and politics while keeping you glued to the page. I've spent a few nights staying up until 3 am unable to put the book down. It's a loss to the world that Mr. Larsson passed away suddenly in 2004 because I've read that he intended to have 10 books in the series. That would have been exciting!

The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo introduces us to Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist and also the publisher of Millennium magazine. He was asked by the patriarch of the Vanger family to help him solve the mystery of his missing niece, Harriet Vanger. During the course of his investigation, he meets and is assisted by Lisbeth Salander, a socially awkward but gifted computer hacker. What they discover is a family history full of secrets.

The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second book of the series, brings Mikael Blomkvist into a dilemma because his friend and colleague, Dag Svensson, who is investigating a sex trafficking ring is suddenly murdered together with his girlfriend. What makes matters worse is that the suspect in the case ends up to be Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist believes in the innocence of his friend Salander and has to prove it by finding this guy named Zala who's name keeps coming up in his investigation.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest involves the trial of Lisbeth Salander and numerous things in her life get exposed as they are uncovered by Blomkvist.

The books as I have said, are well written page turners but they are also disturbing to read as the author describes murder, rape and torture so vividly raw that it was difficult to get through those parts of the book. Once you get through them though, it's a really great read. Never has computer hacking been so exciting as Mr. Larsson has written it! What great feat!

Films have been made of the three books in Swedish with English subtitles. The first two are currently available on DVD while the third, if you're lucky is still playing in some theatres. Swedish actors Michael Nyqvist plays Mikael Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander. They are the perfect personification of the main characters of the books. It was as if they just jumped out of the page and came alive on screen. The Swedish films are as raw and as thrilling as the books. Well made and compelling.

I have heard that an English version of the books are now in production with Daniel Craig as Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. It has a more well known cast but I do hope that it's as true to the books as the Swedish version was.

Here's the trailer of the Swedish film:

(top photo from IMDB.com)


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