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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 3:37 pm
SLIMMER TRIMMER LEANER MEANER
Posted by: Gary Niebuhr

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  How come I have a reservation to read the next book in the series which will not be published until May of this year?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.


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