Friday, September 3, 2010

The Mystique of Steig Larsson

So what is it, will somebody tell me, about this fascination with the Steig Larsson trilogy? I've never seen customers (at the library) go so crazy for a series of novels, by a European no less, that are so full of violence and disturbing sexual images. Well, sure, there's James Patterson, but with him, you've read one, you've read 'em all. I understand that the Larsson books are at least well written. I'll find out soon enough as a friend just gave me her three books after she finished them.

I crack up when these sweet little ladies with their permed hair and sedate demeanor come in complaining that they've been waiting so long for the books. I wonder if they know what they're in for. But then, who knows, maybe they see me as that sweet little librarian who loves her work so much and would never have an inkling into my love affair with the dark side either.

A couple of weeks ago as we spent most of Saturday in the waiting room of the Florida Skin Center with all the other ex-sun worshipers, I got a real kick out of seeing what the others were reading. We all know the drill and come prepared with plenty of reading material, laptops, snacks, etc. Don was lost in his electronic chess game and I was with Obama's family in The Bridge, but looked up to see an older couple - ha! - probably our age - come in and settle in with their books. What was she reading? You guessed it. Steig Larsson.
Pretty soon the whole waiting room was in a discussion about the films vs. the books, the upcoming American version vs. the European one, and with one leading comment a room full of strangers had found a meeting of the minds. Jeezzzz - I love it when that happens!

True confessions, I did try to listen to the first in the series, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a couple of years ago and for whatever reason - we all know sometimes its just a temporary mindset that keeps us from enjoying a certain novel at a certain time -  I just couldn't get into it. I doubt I gave it the patience that it deserved and now, having Netflixed (can that be a new verb like "googled"?) the film, I do intend to go back and read them all. Don and I watched the original European version with subtitles and plan to watch the next one soon.
Rape scenes are especially disturbing to me but I've come to love the fierce, tough gamin, Lizbeth Salander and when she gets her vengeance - well, let's just say I was ashamed of myself for the thrill of it!

Meanwhile, I had read at one of the hundreds of book blogs I subscribe to ( Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind) that there was another famous couple before Larsson and his partner (who I really hope has another novel on that laptop she refused to give up to his greedy family), who were the Swedish precursor to the Girl trilogy. Ten titles, considered masters of the police procedural, were published by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo and, wonder of wonders, my library has them all. Last night I began The Laughing Policeman and it got me from page 1. Will keep you posted.


dschirtzfl said...

OK I guess I will have to give up and read Larsson. Actually I was planning to, when my book club does one later this year.
You continue to amaze me; I love your blogs, and try to keep up with your reading, but cannot.

Sallyb said...

Ha, ha. You fought it too? Are we snobs? As soon as "everyone" jumps on the band wagon, I tend to avoid it. Oh, there's so much out there to read, isn't there?

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