There is something worse than finding that the book you’ve just finished reading has a sequel which you need to wait for. It could be that the author is dead, so is unable to write that sequel. Stieg Larsson is no longer alive, and I kept worrying as I raced through Luftslottet som sprängdes, that it would be too much in need of a sequel for me to be happy. Strictly speaking it doesn’t have to be continued, but you are left feeling that there is a continuation, which there is, as we know. Part of one, at least, and the question is how much of it exists.
Not that I’m sure it would satisfy to have half a book, or a short Stieg Larsson. And considering the mess his estate’s in, I doubt it can happen anytime soon. The more I read of book three, the more I was reminded of Stieg’s family. I’ll leave it to you to work out which characters reminded me of them.
The titles have had me thinking, too. Before reading Luftslottet som sprängdes I thought I knew what it meant. The same goes for the concept of kicking a hornets’ nest, but in both cases I’d say the meaning is almost the opposite of what I’d had in mind.
Where book two set Lisbeth Salander up with a worse mess than she’d been in before, the ‘concluding’ book sorts things out more than you are made to expect at first. It looks very, very grim to begin with. For me it was difficult to keep fact from fiction, as there is so much that belongs in real life, and I couldn’t quite draw a line anywhere. The prime minister is in there, and so is a named predecessor of his. Real life scandals and names are mixed with fiction.
If this had been a film and if Daughter had watched it, I know exactly how she would have screamed in delight through most of it. The last two thirds, anyway. It’s fun and it’s exciting. I did spend a little time wondering how much could be allowed to go wrong, and one of my suppositions only half happened. I just feel that a stage had been set, so maybe it’s for a later book.
The plot doesn’t do much to recommend the Swedish police or government or anything much. But when things look bleak, there are individuals with integrity dotted about here and there. Mikael Blomkvist is as capable and devious as before, and Lisbeth Salander, well, she is very much herself. There is a doctor who was based on one of Stieg’s friends, and he was written into the plot under his own name. Unfortunately he upset the Larsson family sufficiently to have his name written out again. Oh well, his acts speak louder than any name.
Stieg didn’t write in any great literary style, but it’s not necessary. The plot and the general excitement means that it’d be hard to come up with anything quite like it. It’s not just Lisbeth Salander who is on the autistic spectrum, I’d say. The neat and precise way the good characters plot the path to safety, suggests a fair amount of Aspie reasoning, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. I suspect that’s why it satisfies so much.