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Stieg Larsson, Swedish writer"Men who hate women"


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#1 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 04:12 PM

The late Swedish author Stieg Larsson wrote three wildly popular books before his recent untimely death. These books have been translated into many languages and I know they sell very well in England. Wonder if they have found their way to the US? If they have, I certainly do recommend all three:
"Men who hate women"
"The girl who played with fire"
"The castle that was blewn up"
All the books have been made into movies and "Men who hate women" has just been released. I saw it the other day and was impressed, normally I am a bit dubious and never trust movies made from books. OK, if one sees the movie first and then reads the book it is usually a better idea. The audience must have liked it too, there was a round of applause during the final scene.
So, I do recommend the books and the films, or at least the one I saw.
Just to clarify matters: This is not kind of Bergmanesque morose stuff, it is violent, tough, murder, shooting - that kind of stuff. Highly entertaining and very good acting all round. :dry:

#2 zerbinetta

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 02:02 AM

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been published here; the other two are to come. I'm waiting.

In the meantime, I have fallen in love with James Church's wonderful Inspector O novels, set in North Korea. You might enjoy these. More poetry than prose. Quite exquisite, polished writing.

#3 dirac

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:53 PM

Thank you for posting, Pamela, and thanks for the additional information, zerbinetta. I had not heard of Larsson (heard of Church, but have never read him) and will look for book and movie.

OK, if one sees the movie first and then reads the book it is usually a better idea.


As a rule the better the book, the harder it is to film it well, because in the best books form and content are so close that inevitably something is lost in translation.

Two reviews of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo":

The Observer

Tattoo is the first of his Millennium Trilogy to be published in the UK. It is a violent thriller that focuses on a complex financial fraud and a powerful family's sinister secret. It starts slowly, with details of how a Swedish company is ripping off government funding to set up a fake business in Russia. The novel picks up speed when it gets into the complexities of the wealthy Vanger family's past. Forty years earlier, Harriet Vanger disappeared off the family's private island. Nobody saw her leave, there was no sign of her disappearance and no corpse. Her uncle, however, is convinced that a family member murdered her.

The New York Observer

My review copy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, is covered with statistics about its success in Europe—it sold nearly one copy for every three Swedes; the books in the trilogy beat Harry Potter on the French charts—and the plans, likewise, for its success over here—a first printing of 150,000 copies; “outreach” to 25 Swedish consulates all over the United States.

One’s reaction to information of this kind—at least my reaction—is to think, It’s probably terrible, but there must be something to it. And in this case, that reaction is correct: The book is terrible, but there’s certainly something to it.



#4 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 03:02 PM

Thanks, Zerbinetta, you did post the correct title. it should be "The girl with the dragon tattoo". The original title in Swedish is: "Flickan som lekte med elden", which translates as "the girl who played with fire". On the book jacket there is a photo of a shoulder with a dragon tattoo on it - hence the change of title in English. OK, fine with me, but I dont see why they departed so far from the original title - why not translate it straight, after all it was possible.
Still recommend the books, in spite of what some critics say. :devil:

#5 zerbinetta

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 01:15 AM

Perhaps the publishers here thought a dragon tattoo sounded sexier?

Have you read the books in English and Swedish? The one I've read so far seemed really well translated, which has to make a huge difference. For instance, I cannot understand the populariy of Henning Mankell but perhaps his books are poorly translated?

#6 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 04:25 PM

I have it as a general rule to read a book in the language in which it was written as I think so much disappears in translation. Now I noticed that sounded real snooty - didnt mean it that way at all. I read Swedish and English, can manage French, German and Spanish, but then I miss all the finer points so in those cases I have to resort to translations. The worst possible thing is of course a book, say written in Japanese, then translated into English and then into some other language. Wonder how much is left of the original then!
No, I havent read Mankell at all, he is wildly popular here, but somehow I never got around to him. Anyway, BBC is making a series of his books about Inspector Wallander and they are shooting it in the south of Sweden in Wallander territory to get it as authentic as possible. I think Kenneth Branagh will play Wallander so I will most certainly watch it on TV.
Once I conducted an experiment: I had two books side by side, the original and the Swedish translation - it was quite interesting how much was lost in rhytm, atmosphere and subtle details which are untranslateable.
By the way, I just hate translating, I always want to improve things! Besides it is very badly paid. :rofl:

#7 GWTW

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 11:54 PM

I think I've seen the book titled 'The Girl who played with Fire' on amazon.co.uk. Sometimes British and American editions have different titles - even when the book's original language is English (i.e. The Sun also Rises is also Fiesta, etc.)

#8 dirac

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:32 AM

Sometimes British and American editions have different titles - even when the book's original language is English (i.e. The Sun also Rises is also Fiesta, etc.)


I don’t know the situation with Larsson’s book, but “Fiesta” was Hemingway’s original choice for the title of “The Sun Also Rises” and the book was published under the former title in the UK and Europe.

#9 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 04:41 PM

Today came the news that Swedish TV has lost the rights to screen the two follow ups of Stieg Larsson's films: "The girl who played with fire" and "The castle that blew up". (Please note that the title of the last one is my own translation). That is good news indeed, films should be seen on a proper cinema screen and not on a silly little television. No matter how big a TV screen you have, it is not the same. Very good news, but I dont really know how this will affect a foreign release. However, judging by the first film I saw, this is something to look forward to. If anyone of you sees any of these films I am very eager to know what you think. :)

#10 bart

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 05:04 PM

Thanks, Pamela. I will certainly seek out The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo at the public library.

On an off-topic note, I enjoyed the one Wallender novel I read and look forward to seeing the Branagh films on public television -- possibly on the Masterpiece Theater series ? -- over here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk...wallander.shtml

This thread has gotten me thinking about the Martin Beck series (1960s-70s) by Maj Sjowal and Per Wahloo. I loved all of them when I was young. I confess that they provided me with many of the impressions I still have about daily life in Stockholm. :)

#11 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 03:46 PM

Yes, Bart, I do remember the Beck series - now the Swedish commercial channel has made a re-make of those, but I havent seen a single instalment. They were wildly popular here once upon a time and I remember seeing a film called "Roseanna" when I lived in London. Trouble in those days were that Swedish movies - even Bergman movies - were always shown in some small backstreet cinema and there lurked a lot of odd old guys with trench coats and felt hats expecting to see a bit of flesh I suppose. As a young woman it was very unpleasant to go to such a movie theater, one always ended up being pawed (and worse) by the guy in the next seat. So I completely gave up seeing Swedish movies.
As I have the proper keyboard, here is the correct spelling of the Beck authors: Sjöwall and Wahlöö. FYI, we also have ÅÄÖ in our alphabet. :lol:

#12 PeggyR

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 04:45 AM

This thread has gotten me thinking about the Martin Beck series (1960s-70s) by Maj Sjowal and Per Wahloo. I loved all of them when I was young. I confess that they provided me with many of the impressions I still have about daily life in Stockholm. :off topic:

Me too. My 25-year old, much taped together paperbacks of the novels have made the cut whenever a move necessitated a major book cull. Before reading them, my image of Stockholm had been of spotless, tree-lined boulevards filled with six-foot tall blond gods and goddesses doing athletic handsprings on their way to work in health food stores. Martin Beck and his perpetual sniffles put paid to that notion in short order!

Stieg Larsson is now on my (endless) 'must read' list. Thanks for the recommendation.

#13 bart

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 05:08 AM

Trouble in those days were that Swedish movies - even Bergman movies - were always shown in some small backstreet cinema and there lurked a lot of odd old guys with trench coats and felt hats expecting to see a bit of flesh I suppose. As a young woman it was very unpleasant to go to such a movie theater, one always ended up being pawed (and worse) by the guy in the next seat. So I completely gave up seeing Swedish movies.

That's awful! You have added a new twist to my images of London.

You should have come to the US. I recall Swedish movies in Boton and Manhattan in thsoe days as being shown at quite respectable, intellectually committed settings. There were uniersity film series and a variety of small theaters maintained by quasi-religious acolytes of the art of "FILM." :off topic:

#14 Helene

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 07:39 AM

This evening I finished Stieg Larsson's "Millenium Trilogy" ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "The Girl Who Played with Fire", and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest"). I particularly liked the pacing of the last book, which at the same time reads as the most improbable of the three, if most rewarding from a fantasy angle. Many times I thought Henning Mankell has been there/done that with his Wallender books and several that followed that aren't part of the series. The Bad People are equally bad in Larsson's and Mankell's books, but I think Mankell addresses a society that changed with globalization, the fall of the Soviet Union, and prosperity, while Larsson focuses more on their impacts within government and business. For all the darkness in Larsson's books, there is an optimism that does not exist in Mankell's.

Having read Jessica Stern's "Denial: A Memoir of Terror", I was struck by how both Stern and the fictional Lisbeth Salander so adamantly refused to consider themselves victims.


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