Friday, October 15, 2010

Anthem: Lisbeth Salander

(Do not worry: this post is NOT a book review.)

I had finally finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Not knowing Swedish means I have to read the translated version by Reg Keeland. Some of the odd expressions littered in the book made me suspect that he made an effort to make sure that the original expression in Swedish is maintained.

It was a difficult first 60 or so pages for me; like a chemical reaction, the frenzy for devouring the book had a high activation energy threshold. But once I met Lisbeth Salander,  it was like a napalm firestorm; I was ignited to consume to book in a single sitting. This was not possible as real life has a way of interfering with obsessions and a wage has to be earned.

Salander is completely out of my realm of experience. Damaged, brilliant, cunning, naive, dispassionate and yet vulnerable, Salander is a contradiction within a puzzle wrapped in an enigma (or however the expression is). She is quite the archetypal anti-hero(ine)  who lives in the fringes of society; her wary forays into mainstream society often underscoring her prejudices of the  bourgeoisie.

To my mind, this song by Fiona Apple perfectly illustrates Salander. Lyrics can be found here.

The conclusion of the book was very satisfying and yet I was ambivalent about getting the next book in the series. Salander (and Blomqvist) is not a character that I find comfortable to read; (I usually stick to happily ever afters) but somehow, as I left my rental book store, I found The Girl Who Played with Fire in my hands.

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