The Girl Who Felt Déjà vu Reading the NY Times

May 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm (Uncategorized)

Reading Michiko Kakutani’s review of the third book of Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, I was hit with a moment of déjà vu. There has been a lot of coverage of the now full-blown phenomenon of these books…where had I seen these lines before?

The opening sentence of today’s review:

“Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson’s fierce pixie of a heroine, is one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while — a gamin, Audrey Hepburn look-alike but with tattoos and piercings, the take-no-prisoners attitude of Lara Croft and the cool, unsentimental intellect of Mr. Spock.”

The opening sentence of Kakutani’s 2009 review of volume two in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire:

“Lisbeth Salander, the angry punk hacker in Stieg Larsson’s 2008 best seller, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” was one of the most original and memorable heroines to surface in a recent thriller: picture Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft endowed with Mr. Spock’s intense braininess and Scarlett O’Hara’s spunky instinct for survival.”

Oh, right.

From today’s review:

“The second installment, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” attested to the author’s improved plotting abilities, moving backward into the past even as it accelerated toward a vicious and violent conclusion.”

From last year’s review:

“Though this novel lacks the sexual and romantic tension that helped spark “Dragon Tattoo” — Salander and Blomkvist share few scenes here — it boasts an intricate, puzzlelike story line that attests to Mr. Larsson’s improved plotting abilities, a story line that simultaneously moves backward into Salander’s traumatic past, even as it accelerates toward its startling and violent conclusion.”

Kakutani wrote the sentences in the first place; she’s certainly allowed to re-use her descriptions and phrases if she wishes, and writing about a series necessitates some amount of re-hashing. The echoes just struck me as a bit odd. At least it wasn’t someone else ripping her off, or vice versa. And overall Kakutani has highly praised the series, so I guess it’s time to jump on the bandwagon and read the books.

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