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Stieg Larsson's Millenium series
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:32 am    Post subject: Stieg Larsson's Millenium series Reply with quote

To wit, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest.

I have finished the first one, and seen the American movie, looking forward to seeing the Swedish version. I wonder whether Hollywood will tackle the other two books.

I liked the book I read, despite the flat prose (though the translator did a pretty good job as far as I can tell, since I can't speak or write Swedish). The characters are extremely well-penned, and you can't help but like Lisbeth Salander despite her lack of, to say the least, social graces. Mikael Blomkvist is supposed to be the writer's alter ego. I can well believe it.

I just started on the second book and am realizing that they put a scene from that one into the first movie (the scene where Salander tells the guy who raped her not to try to get rid of the tattoo she put on his chest, or next time she'd put it on his forehead). Apart from the discourse on mathematics, which went right over my head, I find the book engrossing.

Mr. Watch, you're the only one in this forum, I believe, to have read the book and seen the movies. Could you put your comments in here? You already said that reading them is a dark journey. Could you elaborate a little more? Thanks.

To be continued...
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: I'm hooked! Reply with quote

It took me some time to get into the first book of the series. I had taken it with me to France back in December but never got past the prologue. But now, having finished the first book, seen the movie, and started the second tome, I just can't let go of it. All the warnings of sleepless nights once you started it are well-founded. The series really grows on you, and you come to care more and more for the title character.

I find it interesting that they showed some scenes from the second book in the first movie, the American one (we don't know yet actually if they will also film the second and third books) - the one where Lisbeth plays chess with her first guardian (both she and I thought he was dead, I was so surprised to see him in the movie), her relationship with Mimmi, and her threat to her second guardian that she'd tattoo his forehead if he got rid of the one on his chest. And also, of course, the glimpse into the reason why she was made a ward of the court and declared legally incompetent.

I'll have to thank the friend who gave me the series as a Christmas present two years ago - and say how much I regret having waited so long to start reading it.

Now I expect the Pride and Prejudice sequel (Mr Darcy Presents his Bride) to arrive in my mailbox any day now, but I'm afraid Fitzwilliam and Lizzie will have to wait until I'm through with The Girl, etc. super grin By that time, I'll have dire need of something light and humorous, that's for sure! There's nothing remotely light-hearted in the Millenium series.
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:08 pm    Post subject: This is really a great series! Reply with quote

I thought the first book interesting but not really earth- shattering. But Larsson did improve, I almost literally couldn't put down the two following books. Kept reading way past my usual time, which is already late, but the chapters about Salander's numerous confrontations, her stay in hospital where she's theoretically incommunicado but still manages to prepare for her trial, and then the trial itself... Three of four nights in a row I read practically until sunrise (one night until past sunrise).

I'm getting a reprieve now, the chapters following the trial are a bit of an anticlimax. But I know that there's still a big confrontation coming up. After which I'll have finished the books.

Meanwhile, I got the DVDs (bpth the US and the Swedish versions) from my brother. I can't decide whether to watch the movies or to move on to something totally different - specifically the Pride and Prejudice "sequel" that Inkling told us about - for a radical change of pace.

More about P&P in the relevant thread. Very Happy
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DarkWind



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:07 pm    Post subject: Re: This is really a great series! Reply with quote

Kerowyn wrote:
... but the chapters about Salander's numerous confrontations, her stay in hospital where she's theoretically incommunicado but still manages to prepare for her trial, and then the trial itself... Three of four nights in a row I read practically until sunrise (one night until past sunrise).

Yes, the trial was very satisfying, wasn't it? All those smug bad guys or idiots got turned out on their ears. And they were so sure they'd win! Twisted Evil

The final confrontation is pretty good too. Our dear Salander is so good at playing innocent when she's the one who did everything. super grin

Too bad her love life is so screwed up. Pale sigh
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inkling7
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:15 pm    Post subject: Millenium Reply with quote

Miss seventeen (granddaughter) today told me she was reading the Millenium book/s - she had one with her when she visited me today. Funny that as she has never been much of a reader - she didn't read anything after the first Twilght book in that series as found it rather uninteresting but I think she has seen a couple of the movies. She hasn't read the last two books of the Harry Potter series either but has seen all the movies. I wonder if she'll stick this lot out.... super grin
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LadyOnTheMoon



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Millenium Reply with quote

inkling7 wrote:
Miss seventeen (granddaughter) today told me she was reading the Millenium book/s - she had one with her when she visited me today. Funny that as she has never been much of a reader - she didn't read anything after the first Twilght book in that series as found it rather uninteresting but I think she has seen a couple of the movies. She hasn't read the last two books of the Harry Potter series either but has seen all the movies. I wonder if she'll stick this lot out.... super grin

I definitely will have to try to read that series. Sounds intriguing, though Mr. Watch says it's so dark.
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inkling7
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:56 pm    Post subject: Too dark! Reply with quote

Yes sounds too depressing and dark for me so I'll give it all a miss. I prefer something that makes me smile or some real life book or travel books - love those... super grin
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Viet Chick



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Dark but not depressing Reply with quote

inkling7 wrote:
Yes sounds too depressing and dark for me so I'll give it all a miss. I prefer something that makes me smile or some real life book or travel books - love those... super grin

It's dark but I didn't think it's at all depressing, because the main characters get their revenge against the bad guys in a very satisfying way. That fairness, honesty and justice ultimately triumph is a very optimistic view, it gives you faith in at least part of humankind and in poetic justice. My two cents.

What did your granddaughter think of it? Is she still reading the series? Though I feel 17 may be a bit young for some of the violent scenes, sex or just "simple" violence.

I'd give it a try if I were you, Inkling7.
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Dark but not depressing Reply with quote

Viet Chick wrote:
It's dark but I didn't think it's at all depressing, because the main characters get their revenge against the bad guys in a very satisfying way. That fairness, honesty and justice ultimately triumph is a very optimistic view, it gives you faith in at least part of humankind and in poetic justice. My two cents.

[...]

I'd give it a try if I were you, Inkling7.

I agree with Viet Chick. Agreement

After having had a bit of trouble getting into the first book, once I was in I was hooked and couldn't get enough of it. When the critics say that these are page-turners, they're not kidding. I almost literally couldn't put the books down, especially the second and the third and stayed up sometimes all night to see what happened next.

Dark or not, it's a worthy read and I highly recommend the series.

I've just watched the Swedish version of "Dragon Tattoo" this afternoon. Review in the Entertainment subforum. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: The Girl Who Wanted Revenge Reply with quote

In a new memoir, Stieg Larsson's longtime partner settles scores and positions herself as the Millennium saga's rightful guardian.
http://www.slate.com/id/2285083/

The Girl Who Wanted Revenge
SLATE
By Sasha Watson

By now, the books have acquired their own creation myth: Long-suffering investigative journalist decides to write a mystery novel (the proceeds of which he and his longtime partner plan to retire on), bangs out three lengthy volumes in two years, then, in 2004, not long after submitting the manuscripts, drops dead from too much coffee and fast food. He does not see the books become international bestsellers, nor is he around to see his partner shut out of his legacy when his father and brother claim his estate—including control over his work—for themselves.

That partner, Eva Gabrielsson, has spent the last several years fighting for the right to determine how novelist Stieg Larsson's name and work (runaway best-sellers The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) are used. But it's not just a desire for creative control that she wants now, as she makes clear in her new memoir, which just came out in France and Sweden. (I read the French edition, Millénium, Stieg et moi; the quotes that follow are my own translations. Seven Stories Press will publish an English language edition in June.) Gabrielsson also wants something that Larsson's heroine, Lisbeth Salander, pursues throughout Larsson's Millennium series: revenge. As she writes, "For Stieg, Lisbeth was the ideal incarnation of a morality that enjoins us to act according to our convictions. A kind of biblical archangel, she is the instrument of God's Vengeance, working title of the fourth volume of the Millennium series." How's that for a teaser?

Gabrielsson fell in love with Larsson in 1972, when they were both 18. She describes their life together in moving detail, and in so doing, begins to stake her claim as the Millennium saga's rightful heir: "It was from our lives and our 32 years side by side that the books were formed," she writes. "They're the fruit of Stieg's experience, but also of mine. Of our combats, our engagements, our travels, our passions, our fears … . That's why I can't say exactly what, in Millennium, came from Stieg, and what came from me." Rumors that Larsson didn't write the books have circulated since they were first published—some have claimed he didn't have the necessary writing skills—but Gabrielsson refutes this idea. The books' abundant detail – about security systems, the white power underground, computer hacking, and Swedish political history—all trace back to the causes and interests to which Larsson and Gabrielsson had devoted their lives, she writes. The neighborhoods he describes are their neighborhoods; the cabins in Sweden's north, their vacation spots; the mathematical theorems, their obsessions.

In Gabrielsson's view, Larsson's work was his life, and his life was also her life, and now all of it has been hijacked. Moreover, as she tells it, Larsson's father and brother, Erland and Joakim, were all but estranged from Larsson and have benefitted from his work due only to a bizarre quirk of the Swedish legal system, which does not recognize common-law marriage. Their sudden interest in Larsson after his death is, she says, all about financial gain. Gabrielsson insists she doesn't care about the money, and indeed the battles she's been waging—battles that were detailed in the New York Times Magazine last year— have revolved more around control of Larsson's work than around the revenue it brings in. A key element of the ongoing dispute is a laptop containing the unfinished fourth volume of the Millennium series, which is in Gabrielsson's possession, and which the Larssons very much want in theirs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/magazine/23Larsson-t.html?_r=1

In interviews, a stony-faced Gabrielsson has scoffed at "the Stieg industry," saying she has no desire to pander to those who obsess over what he ate for breakfast. She clearly blames Erland and Joakim for allowing Stieg's name to be commercialized to the extent that it has been. "The way things are going," she writes, "how long will it be before I see his picture on a bottle of beer, a packet of coffee, or a car?" By providing a more serious presentation of Larsson and his beliefs—which she believes has been neglected by the Stieg industry—she sees her memoir as the first step in righting a long series of wrongs. What she offers, to that end, is an intellectual, political, and personal history of their relationship and of the books. Her descriptions of the Maoist and Trotskyist political groups she and Larsson were involved with make for great reading, but it is the account of Larsson's (and by extension Lisbeth Salander's) feminism that is most fascinating. Famously, this feminism is said to have originated in a rape that he witnessed as an adolescent. Gabrielsson confirms the story, explaining that he was horrified by the way modern society ignored violence against women.

And so Larsson dreamed into existence Lisbeth Salander, an asocial young woman with a dark past, a superheroic skill for computer hacking, and a deep desire to exact revenge, both on her own abusers and on a misogynist society at large. As Gabrielsson writes, the Millennium trilogy formed a "repertoire of all the forms of violence and discrimination that women are subjected to," from physical brutality to discrimination in the workplace. And yet the ferocity of Larsson's view has sometimes been tamed as Millennium has been translated into other languages. Gabrielsson reminds us that Larsson's working title for the series was Men Who Hate Women. It survived as the title of the first volume in Sweden, though Larsson had to fight his publisher to keep it. But the French title was (after his death) watered down to Men Who Don't Like Women, and the potent violence of the original was lost entirely in the English version, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

This is just one of the things that enrages Gabrielsson. She also has issues with the ways the Millennium movies have been made and sold, and, perhaps most important, she believes the series' profits should go to causes Larsson supported. He would have wanted the majority of the books' earnings to go toward helping female victims of violence; financing Expo, the anti-fascist magazine he founded; and funding anti-fascist investigative journalists. It is this concern above all, she tells us, that propels her to fight for control over his work and its distribution.

By its end, the book is a vengeful battle cry. In one particularly incredible scene, Gabrielsson exorcises her grief and fury by performing a pagan ritual, complete with a torch and a goat's head on a spike, in which she recites a poem to the Norse gods, cursing all those who crossed Larsson in life and in death. In another, she speaks to a crow she believes has been sent to her by the god Odin and which she thinks may be an embodiment of Larsson himself. She wraps up the book by swearing not only to continue her fight for the legal right to make decisions pertaining to the ways Larsson's works and name are used and distributed, but to take revenge upon those who have wronged Larsson and herself. The phrase "a woman scorned" came to mind again and again as I read: Gabrielsson's rage is Dido-like in both its determination and its mythological breadth. Whether this is the mild eccentricity of a grieving woman with a thing for Nordic myths or a sign that she's going around the bend remains to be seen.

A final and more intriguing option, though, is that Gabrielsson is a much savvier marketer than she might admit. By so skillfully portraying the novels as the outgrowth of a life that was as much hers as it was Larsson's, she has written the perfect resume for herself: If Eva Gabrielsson practically is Stieg Larsson, who better to take up the disputed laptop and not only finish the fourth volume but write further volumes, too? And not only is she Stieg, but—wronged by an unjust, patriarchal society—she is Salander. Fans can now root for Gabrielsson, too, just as we have for Larsson's heroine.

If she ever triumphs and gets the legal authority she is seeking, who knows: Gabrielsson just may rise like an avenging angel from the ashes of Larsson's death and pay back our loyalty with the ultimate reward: More Salander, more Millennium, more Stieg Larsson novels.
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