http://crimescraps2.wordpress.comHow will we view the character of Lisbeth Salander when the present hysteria, and I use the word carefully, has died down?
hysteria: exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement
Some time ago I posted that I thought a writer to be considered one of the fifty greatest crime writers should fulfil a number of criteria. The writer should have either:
1) a large body of impressive work
2) or written one stupendous book, such as Harper Lee.
3) or created a uniquely memorable character
The interest in Lisbeth Salander which has pushed The Girl Who Played With Fire to the top of the hardback best seller lists certainly brings Stieg Larsson into consideration as a great crime writer. But we should not lose our 'critical perspicacity' as some reviewers have done with flowing phrases like this:
Johansson and Svensson are found murdered and the description of the fleeing assailant matches Lisbeth Salander to a T.
The problem is that there was no description of a fleeing assailant in the book and it was the forensic evidence that linked Lisbeth to those murders.
Other reviewers have compared Salander to The Count of Monte Cristo, a character in Star Wars, and an adult Lara Croft. The books have been labelled a modern fairy tale with allusions to James Bond, and Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking as well as her boy detective 'Kalle' Blomqvist.
We have been told that Stieg Larsson because of these references did not mean us to take Lisbeth Salander seriously.
Surely the subject matter of the books and the Swedish title of the first book, Man Som Hatar Kvinor [Men Who Hate Women] means Larsson took Salander very seriously indeed. Unfortunately the Millennium series is no clever fairy tale or allegory, and Lisbeth represents every child that has been abused and every woman that has been brutalized and humiliated. There is a particular scene in TGTPWF when Salander goes to buy an apartment and because of her appearance is treated like a naughty child and sent away without proper consideration.
We as a society feel guilty at our failings and are intrigued by the idea of a typical 'child like' seemingly helpless victim having the skills and determination to fight back against her oppressors. She is the investigator for our time just as much as Miss Marple was for her age.