I have just finished the Millenium series by Stieg Larsen. These books are very violent especially towards women and not usually my style of books. However they are very cleverly written and capture your attention in a way that few authors have the skill to do. Larsen has a unique way of giving putting in a lot of detail in his writing without making it seem repetitive or boring.
Stieg Larsen wrote these books before succumbing to a heart attack at the age of 51. Larsen was in fact a journalist who was known for denouncing racism in Sweden and was a driving for behind Expo-foundation a group dedicated to exposing neo - Nazi activity in Sweden. In the last 15 years of his life he and his wife lived in fear of being targeted because of his work. Writing the Millenium Trilogy was for him a form of relaxation.
When I read about his life I found it such a contradiction at first. Here was a man who fought against racism and even put his life on the line to expose injustice. However, as I thought about the content of these books I realized that he was, in some ways, writing about the injustice that women find themselves in.
Salander, the main character, was a young girl who was made a victim, through no fault of her own, from the time she was a very young girl. She was a victim of her circumstances and continued to be a victim throughout a system that was should have protected her. She survived by finding ways to protect herself that were not seen as being socially acceptable and causing her to further be isolated and victimized. Larsen cleverly included many of the vulnerabilities that plague women such as having no escape from abusive relationships; desperate measures women take to escape from repressive governments; having their sexual preferences dragged out as proof that they are responsible for their own victimization.
Larsen, in my opinion, was a very talented writer. Despite how the books, at first appear to be written by a man whose mind was depraved especially when it came to women, I have now come to think that he was cleverly trying to point out just how victimized females are in Swedish society and that is experienced by women around the world.
The Stieg Larsen website has more information about this author.