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The Best Novel I've Read So Far in 2009
on August 10, 2009
"Godly people find life; evil people find death." -- Proverbs 11:19
If you enjoyed Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you're in for a treat: This is Lisbeth's story, explaining how such a brilliant woman came to be a ward of the state, taken "care of" by a pervert lawyer. What's more, she's on the run . . . first from her disappointment in loving Mikael Blomkvist, and later from the authorities who rely on circumstantial evidence to decide that she's a murderer. With all of Sweden after her, can Lisbeth outwit her foes?
The story is very much a David and Goliath conflict: Tiny Lisbeth is pitted against rich, powerful, and evil enemies who wish her the very worst they can wish. In developing that theme, Stieg Larsson raises fascinating fundamental questions about duality in the reader's mind such as when strength is weakness and weakness is strength, when doing good leads to evil and when doing evil leads to doing good, when friendship is more important than love and love leads to friendship, what the basis for personal morality should be and when public morality is immoral, and how the family bonds can be horrible while friendship bonds can be redeeming. You'll walk away from this book with a more objective view of the next news story you read about a crime and its punishment.
Stieg Larsson makes quite a bit of Lisbeth's extraordinary intellect. When she's running circles around conventional people, you'll feel like you are reading all about Robin Hood again. Those sections provide something of a letdown however for readers when they have to go back to following the conventional people as they bumble around. I found myself impatient for the next dose of Lisbeth several times in the book's middle.
As in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this book pulls off the respectable front of the rich and powerful to reveal the evil underneath, the sick predators who will stop at nothing to satisfy their every whim. Be ready to be dragged through the mud of gross human depravity. Like a modern-day Joan of Arc, Lisbeth doesn't let the muck stick to her as she slogs through it.