April 17, 2011
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Fiction – Mystery/Thriller
2010 Random House Audio, Unabridged EditionRead by Simon Vance
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)
“It’s over! And I feel the same sense of pleasure and loss that I did when I watched the finale of ‘The Sopranos’ and the last episodes of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ . . . Salander is, I promise, someone you will never forget . . . Anyone who enjoys grounding their imaginations in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of exciting pages about the way we live now ought to take advantage of this trilogy.”
—Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune
The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy
Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.
Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.
END SPOILER ALERT
After reading the final pages of The Girl Who Played With Fire (and its cliff-hanger-of-an-ending), I knew it would be impossible to wait very long to read this third and final installment in Stieg Larsson’s marvelous trilogy. My husband and I had already seen both films and the third was waiting to be viewed as soon as I finished the novel. I couldn’t read fast enough. And yet, I found myself getting a little bogged down with some of the complicated details involving The Section and Sweden’s security police (aka Säpo). I was listening to the audio version and finally had to pick up the book just to see the words. I’m not sure why that helps, but simply hearing the names of the characters confused me greatly. So many of the Swedish names sound alike and I was afraid I’d miss out on a critical detail if I “skimmed” while listening. And it worked! Seeing the names helped to place the characters in my mind's eye.
Once I got to the courtroom drama, I found every excuse to listen to my Nano. Oh, no honey. I’ll do the dishes. You go read. No really. I don’t mind cleaning up the kitchen all by myself. Oh, look at the time. Annie-dog needs to go for another walk. No, don’t get up. Your foot is still hurting. I can walk her again. No, really. ;) I spent the next week with my headphones permanently attached to my head, listening with breathless anticipation to the outcome of the Salander’s trial. Annika Giannini (Mikael’s sister and Lisbeth’s attorney) was simply amazing. I loved her character and the smooth style in which she cross-examined Dr. Peter Teleborian. Excellent writing!
As soon as I finished the book, I couldn’t wait to watch the movie. Lucky for me, it was next in our Netflix queue. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was quickly dashed. What a disappointment! The movie lacked the finer details of the book and completely eliminated one of the best subplots of the novel. As much as I enjoyed the first two movies, this one fell short, leaving me rather anxious to see what Hollywood does with the same stories. And Daniel Craig is much easier on the eyes than Michael Nyqvist. Just sayin’.
Funny aside: I was listening to the book while out walking the dog one afternoon. I knew I was nearing the final chapter, but was quite honestly surprised when the story ended and Nowhere to Run To (Martha Reeves and the Vandellas) started to play. I assumed it was part of the audio version of the book and, quite honestly, the timing was very apropos. As I was returning home, another song (You Never Give Me Your Money by The Beatles) came on. Once again, I thought it was perfectly suitable for the conclusion of the story. But I had this niggling feeling that I’d missed something. It was the first time I had downloaded an audio book directly from our city library, so I decided to check my desktop just to be sure I hadn’t missed anything. Good thing I did. I had missed an entire track of narrative! While on my walk, my Nano had inadvertently switched over from the audio book to one of my iTune’s playlists! Boy, did I feel silly. But I was also pleased to have the opportunity to continue listening to Stieg Larsson’s final words.
Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy is an E-ticket of a ride. What a shame he didn’t live to see how popular his books turned out to be. I will truly miss Lisbeth Salander.