Friday, October 8, 2010
The Girl Who Played With Fire
I picked up both this book an "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" at the same time and read them back to back. The story of Lisbeth Salander is a pretty dark and compelling one and The Girl Who Played With Fire finally gives us some insight into the issues that plague Lisbeth and cause her to be so uncomfortable with people.
While the main characters, Lisbeth and Mikael, are the same in this story their relationship is entirely different. Mikael has lost all contact with Lisbeth and spends the vast majority trying to help Lisbeth without her even knowing about it. Listbeth, on the other hand, is living an even more complicated life than she had in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".
Thanks to the money she managed to acquire near the end of the prior book Lisbeth is finally in a state of economic contentment; however, her personal life becomes even more tumultuous as she deals with various men who are preoccupied with exacting vengeance upon her for past deeds; including her reclamation of independence in the first book.
Over the course of the story Salandar seems to open up a bit more and to trust others a little more and, once again, when she faces her personal protagonist I found myself hoping she would once again be brutally vicious in punishing him. Normally I'm not a very violent person but I can't help but feeling a little "old testament eye-for-an-eye" behavior is justified when it comes to Lisbeth.
When I started reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" I had bit of a desire to visit Sweden; however, by the time I finished "The Girl Who Plays With Fire" I had begun to reconsider it for fear of what might happen to my wife and daughters as we walk down the street. I'm sure I'm being entirely irrational but if there is one thing you can say for Steig's books; they don't really sell Sweden as a place that is friendly toward women.