Many thanks to André Jute for sending me a review copy of his (and Andrew McCoy's) critique/treatise on the Millennium Trilogy. I found it interesting, absorbing and thought provoking. Undoubtedly there are many like me who raced through the three books, enjoying the action and intending to come back and read the books more thoroughly later. This is because there are long dense passages outlining the political history of modern day Sweden which, while relevant, seem clumsily to interrupt the progress of the story. This is probably part of the reason for Jute and McCoy's critique of the structure of the novels.
This was my first impression of the books, but Jute's detailed exploration of the texts makes one realise there are certain inconsistencies and lacunas in the text. Jute brings out Larsson's self proclaimed feminism, or perhaps his partner's feminism as Larsson died before the books were published and therefore the majority of his supposed views come from his partner and colleagues. Is Salander consciously feminist or is she justifiably `getting even' against those people who harm her. Mind you, I don't necessarily think a woman can be definitively labelled as `not a feminist' just because she gets some fake breasts when she has the means. She might just wish not to be physically infantile any longer. Feminism (in my view) is the right of equality both in the home and the work place but does not mean one has to be deliberately unattractive! Some might say that Larsson's description of the rape is prurient and makes the reader feels like a voyeur. If this aids the cause of feminism I would be surprised.
I'm not sure if I quite agree with the author's analysis of Salander's preparedness to swap sex for goods - the `top of the range`laptop. In the story she is quite a stranger to almost any human warmth, having been abused by virtually everyone she has come in contact with, individuals and the State. Sex for her was probably considered a commodity, but the horrible violence shown to her on her second visit to her legal guardian was not `part of the deal' and her revenge is applauded by most readers, I should imagine. Incidentally, Jute touches on Larsson's suggestion that Salander has Asperger's Syndrome (which does sometimes go with high intelligence) and that had occurred to me, but her alienation is more likely due to her upbringing.
The fact that we (and André Jute) are drawn to analyze the characters Salander and Blomquist almost as if they were real is a tribute to Larsson, despite the under edited form of the books. I agree Blomquist, although leading the structure of the plot in the first novel is a shadowy reactive character and Salander is definitely the protagonist. But there is much more to think on in Andre Jute's book and it is well worth reading. I shall certainly read the trilogy again with a more critical eye and even if they do not last as `literature' I can see the books being analyzed in Popular Culture courses in the future. I have also seen all three Swedish films and the first in particular is so much tighter; it seems the film makers did a better job of editing than the publishers - although Jute makes it clear the constraints they were under, both from Eva Gabrielsson and the publishers who traditionally do not like to over edit the work of a dead author.
Penultimate thought: I loved the lists and the shopping - but there you go
Finally - thank you André Jute for explaining what `Kalle Blomquist' means! I have searched dictionaries and the internet to try and find out. Swedes would know immediately and a footnote in the book for other nationalities would have been welcome!