Sunday, January 01, 2012

The girl with the dragon tattoo who played with fire and kicked the hornet's nest

I finally finished all three "Millenium" books by Stieg Larsson, and now I can see the American movie version of Dragon Tattoo. I saw the Swedish version and while I thought it was pretty good, I hear the American version is closer to the book and that's a good thing - I didn't like some of the changes in the Swedish movie.

One funny thing about the Swedish movie is that they often use English words - the number 66 is pronounced "sixty-six" and several times the characters, who normally speak in Swedish, will ask "Are you OK?" Not just "[Swedish words] OK" - they actually say "Are you OK?"

Several times in the book Larsson has the characters say something in English. Obviously I'm reading an English translation but it will say "he said in English" to let you know. One of the phrases was "been there, done that, got the T-shirt" which was funny, both for the choice of phrase and the fact that it's now sort of an obsolete one - how 2000s! There are quite a few others. Not a huge number, but how often are American characters portrayed as casually slipping Swedish phrases into conversation? The only Swedish word I recognized in the Dragon movie was "Skål."

As I mentioned before the Swedes are into IKEA - and one of the funniest parts of the book is when Larsson, who loves little details, lists a whole bunch of IKEA furniture purchased during Salander's shopping spree - all the familiar names are mentioned: KARLANDA, LACK, MALM, SVANSBO, HEMNES, etc. etc.

The web site Apartment Therapy actually has a post called "Lisbeth Salander's IKEA Shopping List"

And the last two books, like the first, do not stint on the lingonberries either. Larsson loves to tell you what his characters are eating. They're very big on lamb in Sweden if these books are any indication. I can't remember the last time I had lamb, although admittedly I'm not a big meat eater. They eat lots of sandwiches and drink lots of coffee - LOTS of coffee. But then I knew the Swedes were into coffee when I read Pippi Longstocking and Pippi and her friends, who are around eleven years old, are portrayed on several occasions drinking coffee, which I always understood was a grown-up drink.

I also learned that many Swedes have a little cabin in the woods that they go to for vacations, etc.  Several scenes take place in these cabins.

Larsson's domestic partner Eva Gabrielsson runs the web site  called "Stieg Larsson, the man behind Lisbeth Salander" at and claims to be working on the 4th book in the series,  based on Larsson's unfinished manuscript called "God's Revenge" -  there were supposed to be ten Millenium books altogether. But apparently there is an ongoing legal battle between Gabrielsson and Larsson's father and brother over ownership. In spite of the fact that Sweden has a high percentage of domestic partnerships compared to marriages, domestic partners are not granted the same automatic rights that spouses get, hence the struggle. Larsson wrote a will but it was not witnessed and so not valid. It's OK with me though, I think the third book ends perfectly and it's likely subsequent books would be a let-down.

Now I'm kind of jonesing for some lingonberries at IKEA.