This is for those of you with plenty of patience. Stieg Larsson’s second instalment of the millennium trilogy is here at last. I’m sure it would have made more sense to learn another language to read it in, rather than wait. But if you didn’t, then you can now enjoy 569 pages about, mainly, Lisbeth Salander, who is a very intriguing kind of person. I don’t want to be her, but there is something about her…
And by that I don’t mean that she is some sort of sex fantasy figure, as so many reviewers have complained about. I don’t see it. I really don’t. I suspect people are adding their own ideas to what Lisbeth’s like, and then they complain. (Modesty Blaise? Honestly!) And as for all the main characters engaging in sex unbelievably often, I don’t see that either. They seem like perfectly normal Swedes to me. Is it the idea of the suicidal, depressed policeman people can’t let go of?
The end of this book is satisfying enough, as long as you don’t stray and look at what comes in book three, when you realise things are still bad. The plot is far better in The Girl Who Played With Fire, as there is less of the sometimes tedious introductory stuff from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
The English translation is pretty good, which is the kind of thing that surprises me, because I don’t always believe books travel well. There is the need to explain some things, which are not in the original, but it’s done fairly unobtrusively. I understand the UK translation is different from the US one (not out yet), although done by the same translator, Reg Keeland. He reckons the American version is better. I just wonder why they have to be different, apart from the pavement/sidewalk issues.
So, purists will have to wait even longer.