The Girl Who Played With Fire
Knopf, 2008 and 2009
My rating: 4 stars for both
For this challenge, you can read any book you want. However, you have to write about the book as one of the characters from the book. The character can comment on his/her treatment by the author, other characters, the “untold story,” what happened next, and so forth. You could even have two characters interviewing each other! Your imagination is the only limit.
I decided today was the day to tackle this one, and I decided to interview Mikael Blomkvist from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire (both written by Steig Larsson) as if the interview was taking place in the middle of The Girl Who Played With Fire. Hopefully, my interview with Mr. Blomkvist will function as a fair to middling review/synopsis of both books without spoiling anything. So let’s see what Mr. Blomkvist has to say!
An Interview with Mikael Blomkvist
Q: Good afternoon, Mr. Blomkvist. Thank you for taking time out of your schedule as the publisher of Millennium, one of Sweden’s most liberal and hard-hitting magazines, to talk to us at Find Your Next Book Here, the silliest book blog in the Western Hemisphere.
MB: I’m honored to be here, Jenners. And I must confess, I have a bit of an agenda of my own to promote today.
Q: I assume you are talking about the manhunt for Lisbeth Salander, who stands accused of murdering three people?
MB: You are correct. Lisbeth is a colleague and friend of mine, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that she is innocent of the crimes of which she is accused.
Q: But the police have the murder weapon with her fingerprints on it! And she is the only link between the first two murder victims and the third. You must admit, on the face of it, the evidence looks airtight and very incriminating.
MB: I know what it looks like, but I know Lisbeth. Despite all the media reports, Lisbeth is not a mentally ill psychotic. She is a very unique and gifted individual who marches to the beat of her own drummer. In addition, Lisbeth is one of the most morally grounded people I know. Of course, she follows her own code of morals, which might look a little bit different than yours or mine but I assure you she would have never killed my good friends, Dag and Mia. As for the third victim, Nils Bjurman, I have no comment as I am unfamiliar with the man or his connection to Lisbeth.
Q: How do you know so much about the mysterious Lisbeth Salander? Not many people seem to know anything about her.
MB: I first met Lisbeth when she worked for me as a researcher. I saw first-hand the kind of work she was capable of doing, and I owe her my life.
Q: Are you referring to the mysterious goings on in Hedestad last year, where you seemed to retreat from the world after being convicted of libeling financial superstar Eric Wennerstrom?
MB: Yes … and I will not comment on the exact nature of my work in Hedestad other than I was contracted to write a family history of the Vanger family.
Q: Yet during your stay at Hedestad, you uncovered some very unsavory ….
MB (cutting the question short): As I said, I will not comment on what happened in Hedestad other than to say that it was the first time I met Lisbeth Salander and grew to appreciate what a special person she is.
Q: Yet you don’t seem to be in touch with her now … at her greatest moment of need.
MB: It is true that Lisbeth suddenly cut ties with me last year for reasons that still unclear to me. However, I have nothing but the greatest respect for Lisbeth and would welcome her back into my life whenever she is ready.
Q: What about the rumors that Lisbeth is a member of a lesbian Satanist cult?
MB: Do you believe everything you read in the papers?
Q: Well, no … but look who is talking…a man who was convicted of libel!
MB: Touche. But as you know, the Wennerstrom affair was eventually settled in a manner that suited me perfectly.
Q: I’ll say. But going back to Lisbeth, can you describe her for us?
MB: Well, physically she is a slip of a girl, with multiple tattoos (including one of a dragon on her neck). But don’t let her fool you … the girl has strength, power and smarts. In fact, I’ve seen her take on men who… (trails off)
Q: Men who … what? Are you referring to what happened in Hedested?
MB: I’ve said too much. Let’s just say this. Lisbeth can take care of herself.
Q: What about the rumor that these murders were financially motivated?
MB (chuckling): Well, let’s just say I don’t think Lisbeth has any monetary worries right now.
Q: But how can that be? Her only known job was as an assistant for Milton Securities.
MB: As I said, Lisbeth can take care of herself, and her special talents permit her opportunities that are not available to others.
Q: She sounds very intriguing.
MB: Oh she is. You can’t meet Lisbeth without wanting to learn more about her or wanting to penetrate the hard exterior she keeps in place. She is a tough nut to crack.
Q: Well, if anyone could crack that nut, it would be you. You are known as quite the ladies man, Mr. Blomkvist.
MB (blushing): I won’t comment on any of my relationships with women.
Q: Not even your partner at Millennium and rumored long-time lover, Erika Berger?
MB: My relationship with Erika is strictly between me, her and her husband.
Q: Hmmmmm. Very interesting. Do you have any last comments before the interview ends?
MB: Just this. Lisbeth Salander is innocent of the crimes of which she has been accused. I will do everything in my power to ensure that her name is cleared and the real killer is brought to justice. I owe Lisbeth my life, and I will ensure that she gets to live out her life as she fits. No one as rare and special as Lisbeth deserves to rot in a jail. Lisbeth needs a friend, despite her own efforts to drive people away from her, and I, for one, intend to be that friend.
Q: Very inspiring. Are you in love with Lisbeth?
MB: I think everyone who knows the real Lisbeth is probably a little in love with her.
My Final Recommendation
The Millennium trilogy (the third installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is being released in the U.S. on May 25th) is wildly popular and for good reason. These are well-written, intelligent thrillers featuring memorable characters (I’ve never quite come across a character as intriguing as Lisbeth Salander), non-stop action and a writing style that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go until the book is done.
I got The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because I wanted to see what all the hype was about and immediately got very involved in the story for reasons that continue to fully elude me. I think the appeal of the books is partially due to the fact that Larsson isn’t afraid to have his characters mix it up. On paper, Mikael Blomkvist might not come off all that well, but he is immensely likable. The same goes for Lisbeth Salander. At their core, these books are really murder mysteries, but they come in this wonderful unique packaging that make them seem like so much more. The other appeal may be that the fast pace and Larsson’s writing style is very cinematic. You can almost see these stories as movies as you read. If I had to liken them to a movie, I would say they are the equivalent of the Bourne movies starring Matt Damon. They have the same intelligent, kick-ass thrill to them. Highly recommended.
The Whys and Wheres: I bought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo myself and was lucky enough to win The Girl Who Played with Fire from Stacy at A Novel Source. I was going to do a giveaway for both books, but then I hatched a rather evil plan that involves trying to get Mr. Jenners interested in these books so that he will go out and buy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest so I don’t have to break my book-buying ban. I tell you … this ban is bringing out the sneaky side of me! If I’m not successful in hooking him (Lisbeth isn’t the only tough nut to crack), then I’ll probably have a giveaway at a later date.
To find out what other bloggers are saying about the books discussed in this post, visit theBook Blogs Search Engine.