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Saturday, March 20, 2010

I don't buy it.

But I'm not angry. :D

What I don't buy is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

As a novel, it has too much exposition and not enough action. The pace is slow at too many places. The suspense is very mediocre. (I guessed the murderers quite easily even though I barely paid attention to the audiobook most of the time.) The structure is somewhat disjointed and sloppy.

Most important, I don't buy the characters.

Lisbeth Salander is supposed to have Asperger's disorder or some variation of autism, but it quickly becomes obvious that the author was unfamiliar with the actual clinical characteristics of autistic disorders including Asperger's. At places there are inconsistencies and contradictions in her personality and her behaviors. Her talents and skills are stretched far beyond credibility, with no clues building them up throughout the book (ie, the author did not "earn" it). In the end she suddenly becomes a master actress pretending to be other people. Well, if she was so good at playing roles, she wouldn't be in the trouble she is in all her life. For 95% of the book she is one stubborn, gritty, socially dysfunctional person, and in the last chapter she turns into Tracy Whitney. Yeah right. Meanwhile, her fundamental characteristic is not pushed far enough. She says men who hate women should get their balls blown off (or something like that), but she kills only one man in 2 books, and out of pure self defense! How disappointing. Her other enemies are conveniently killed off by the hand of ... uh ... God. Too easy, too neat, too clean.

As for Mikael Blumqvist, what can I say. Any time the male lead character is the same age as the author and gets to sleep with every female character in the book (at least those who are postpuberty and before decrepitude), it is safe to bet that he is the author's own fantasy, especially if none of the women give him any grief about anything. No emotional entanglements, no jealous arguments, no demands for attending to their needs, no pressure for emotional availability, no guilt involved. However, this is kind of a boring fantasy. A hero with no discernible personality is far, far worse than an unconvincing and inconsistent but occasionally enjoyable heroine. The sequel is far more readable than the first book, largely because he has a much smaller role in it.

Oh, well. I'll go see the movie tomorrow. I have a feeling that the novel would actually make a pretty entertaining movie, after all the slow sections are trimmed and her character consolidated into a clear and consistent tone. He, however, is beyond salvage.

I think when it comes to fantasies I am truly hopeless.


I do buy Martin Beck though. Am finishing up "The Man Who Went up in Smoke." It reminds me of "Dogs of Riga", sort of. A lot of descriptions about Hungary. Hungarian food is considered sumptuous by a Swede. Hmm... What does that say about Swedish food?! Anyway, it's interesting to see Martin Beck get some real action. (For some reason he is always called "Martin Beck" in the books and never Martin or Beck.)


Barbara said...

是啊永远叫马丁贝克,这也是我喜欢该系列的原因咧(唉喜欢根本是不需要理由的不是吗)。夏天你来了你知道瑞典饭咋回事儿了。你看了Hotel Savoy吗,我还想着你们来了一起去那儿吃喝,感受一下当年“凶案场景”,嘿嘿嘿。
我这两天穷逛书店,steig larsson那几本卖得火,我倒是看一眼的欲望也没有。

Jun said...

Hotel Savoy 那本还没看,我现在打算按照顺序从头看,正在看第三本: 阳台上的男人。

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