The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, probably one of the most enthralling, obsessive, and entertaining novels I have read lately, is over. The last novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest doesn’t spoil the amazing impression from the first two ones. On the contrary, I must say it is probably the best one. Maybe because it is the last one. Finally, after nearly 1500 pages we get to see how it all ends. Mikael Blomkvist, Lisbeth Salander, Dragan Armanski, Erica Berger, the policemen, the prosecutors, the criminals, they all gather for one last show. The audience (if there was such) must be on their feet, clapping. Larsson is incredible.
In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest the author unravels the story he has been building for the past two novels. All secrets are now out and Mikael, Lisbeth, and company fight fiercely to make sure the guilty ones are punished. Throughout the last novel we see their struggle to prove Lisbeth’s innocence, fighting corruption and secrets in the highest hierarchical level of the Swedish police. Finally, justice is recovered, thanks to Mikael’s persistency and Lisbeth’s impressive abilities. I won’t spoil the ending but I will only say – it is worth the whole reading.
Interestingly, Mikael and Lisbeth meet only twice during the last two novels. Yet, I felt they were extremely connected. Not only their communication over the internet seems very real, but the reader feels they connect mentally as well. As if Mikael and Lisbeth are the two sides of a coin – one can never see the other, yet they cannot be separated. Far away from a typical love story, Mikael and Lisbeth’s relationship is strong and robust. The last few pages indeed prove that.
In my last three novels I have shared so many superlatives about Stieg Larsson’s writing style that now I feel I want to comment on some particular parts of the whole trilogy. Firstly, I kept thinking about his attitude towards sex relationships. None of his characters has a conventional love story. Erika and Mikael have been lovers for twenty years. Even though she is married (and her husband knows about her affair and approves of it) and he has a lot of other relationships, they never really lose passion for one another. Lisbeth, on the other hand, finds herself in relationship with both women and men, but Larsson never actually states her sexuality. Because it doesn’t matter. I admire his openness about sex and love. He doesn’t enclose his characters in the sugarcoated version of love we know from the American movies. On the contrary, his characters are mature individuals, ambitious and genial in their field of work; however, they do not undermine the importance of passion, and the imperfect human nature. They understand human beings are not born to be with only one person, they enjoy sexual freedom, and they are not ashamed to say that to the world. Bravo!
After this literary deviation, back to Larsson and the Millenium Trilogy. To summarize, the critics praises were not exaggerated at all. The Swedish journalist presents an incredible criminal trilogy, which doesn’t bore the reader even for a second. You get the mafia, the sexual crimes, the drugs, the secrets, the corrupted police, but nothing of this is trivial or banal. As if Larsson manages to bring a whole new perspective of the typical criminal novel. He transforms what could have been a regular crime story into a literary masterpiece.
I am definitely going to miss Stieg Larsson. For the past month I have lived with these personages, I have thought about their behavior and issues and I have indeed learned from them. I keep repeating one of Lisbeth’s phrases when I am about to do something I know will only hurt me at the end: ANALYZE THE EFFECTS.
PS: English translators are driving me crazy. They had a little blast with The Girl Who Played with Fire but in translating the last novel they have once again freed their imagination. The original Swedish title is The Blasted Air Tower. All of the three novels in their English translation start with the girl who. Lisbeth is indeed the main heroine but alternating the author’s original choice of a title in such a way is simply unacceptable. Although, I kind of like the association with hornets.