Monday, December 20, 2010

I Got Sucked Away w/ A Girl Who....

I'm sorry I haven't been writing, especially last week, you see I wasn't really doing anything, I was reading.  While I'm nursing I can't do much.  I used to be able to play facebook games with my mouse, but now it just doesn't work, and there is absolutely no way I can type.  So I've been reading.  Since we already go to the library once a week with the little kids (or rather my husband goes, now I'm stuck at the school for lunch stuff).  Anyway, it doesn't really matter because I have to request or reserve anything I want to read for some reason.

Well, upon the recommendation of others, and the hype I reserved and read all of Stieg Larsson's Millinium Triology (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest).  Actually, I think the first book was in, in Large Print, so my husband grabbed it with a handful of other stuff because I was burning through juvenile fiction like mad.  Anyway, I put it in my stack and gave it a go.  I suppose you can guess that since I read all three books AND it kept me from posting on here last week, that I did enjoy them, but it's not all roses and sunshine.

It's true, I really really enjoyed the triology, but at first I thought is just wasn't going to happen.  The first four "chapters"/days/breaks/whatever of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is brutal.  There's stuff going on, but you don't have a clue who anyone is, one segment to the next isn't tied together, there's these old guys with some flattened flowers, this reporter (who the back cover synopsis swears is the main character) whose in trouble for alleged slander, a security firm, and then this introverted ace investigator.  Yup, it takes a bit for things to start coming together.

Once everything does come together though..... well that's when things get good and my lack of will power to stop reading takes over.  This is not kid fair either.  There are some rather horrifying concepts and lots of political/business talk which is executed brilliantly, and is right in line with a lot of stuff I've never found the way to put into text, yet try to discuss.  Of course having similar standpoints on societal issues does make it easier to love the characters and the author.  There is also a lot of stuff that is alien as the story is written from a Swedish standpoint, with Swedish history, literary references (I really should read Pippi Longstockings again), and locations.  In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, there is a brief appendix which discusses the most important political histories that are necessary for understanding the story.  Also, the translator did such a wonderful job it doesn't feel like it isn't originally written with English in mind.

Larsson had an amazing grasp of psychology.  His characters, while outside the mainstream norms, feel completely real and believable.  For anyone comfortable with people who do not fit into a sitcom society the characters are easy to love and care about.  There is a clear socio/political agenda that Larsson in no way masks and is in fact a vital part of the stories.  Issues of Nazism, sadism, abuse of women, chauvinism, prostitution, and a variety of consensual sexual relationship types are all large parts of the epic, as well as topics of trust, community, the roles of socialism, the roles of business management, and the ethics of journalism and law.

They are some fairly hefty texts, but the narrative, once it gets going is compelling and draws in the kinds of readers who will enjoy it.   You just have to make it over the one hump.  The next two books take off right from the cover.  At first I thought my inability to get into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was purely due to the fact that I've been reading juvenile literature, but the few others I've talked to that have tackled these works agree that there is a bit of a hurdle getting started.  Just to beat this horse a little further, it took me several days to read the first 4 sections, and 2 days to read the last book.

I didn't read all of the books last week, just the last one, but it cut into everything I was doing and it was as though everything else in my life came to a standstill while I finished.  In fact I'm still catching up on work and house stuff.

So that's what happened this time.  It'll probably happen again.  My husband is forcing some kid named Ender down my throat, and the first book was quite good :)

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