And yet another example of some of the best writing I've seen in crime fiction in years:
"How is she holding up?"
"She's holding up very well, coming off as a complete psychopath. She's merely being herself."
Ok. This is the story that the writers of Lost should have been made to read before making Lost. Here we have a tale that starts out with the first book asking a few simple and a few complex questions. Over the course of the first and second book we start to get the answers to some of those questions and some logical new questions. Then, by the end of Book 3 we have answers to all of the questions we cared about.
Yes, it takes over 2,000 pages to get there, but Lost had as much time as they wanted as well.
I also like that Larsson has one of the characters sum up the entire point of this exercise so concisely:
"When it comes down to it, this story is not primarily about spies and secret government agencies; it's about violence against women and the men who enable it."
Well said and well done.
While Lisbeth Salander is obviously completely insane she is so because the patriarchal system that makes women easy victims is also insane. She is crazy and violent in reaction to a crazy and violent system.
The best part, of course, is that male characters have always been allowed to be crazy and violent while fighting for justice, but in general women don't get to play that role in our contemporary fiction.
So, it's interesting and fair that Lisbeth is a fucking nut job. And her feelings about men are not that weird given the range of weak male archetypes that surround her:
1. The man who can not love.
2. The man who can not feel pain.
3. The "absent" father.
4. The male bureaucrats who punish her for her sexuality.
5. The man who wants to protect her instead of respect her.
But, at the end of the day, this isn't just a feminist screed. It wouldn't work that way. Instead it's a kick ass crime thriller and a strong moral theme about the nature of victims and violence, men and women and what insanity really is.
That's why Lisbeth exists in a world where she is both helpless and strong. Sure, she's "a danger to herself and others", but so, Larsson seems to be saying, is the entire social system we've created.
And, that's an interesting thought.