Tuesday, 6 September 2011

If you want a thumping good read......

(I'd better post this quickly, very soon after my blog of only yesterday morning. With a bit of luck it might distract attention from my '5 on the Fifth' entry which must have raised a few eyebrows.)

I've just finished reading this remarkable trilogy. (I realise it's probably old hat to other avid readers who may have been through them when they first started being talked about in literary circles, a couple or more years ago.) But I've just read them through uninterrupted by other reading - around 1700 pages in all - in just over a fortnight. No, I didn't read some every single day, but they do have to be read in order. I cannot recommend them too highly. If you want a meaty thriller that's involved without being so over-complicated that you give up trying to follow the twists and turns, this trilogy is for you. Such a shame that the author died in 2004 at just 50, not knowing what a phenomenon these books were to become.
   I saw all three Swedish films (in the correct order). They are currently being re-made in America. One question - why? Well, we actually all know the answer - because they'll be in English. (Sigh of resignation!) The Swedish originals were themselves significant accomplishments and I'd be very surprised indeed if they can be improved upon.
    So, as I say, if you like thrillers - here is my strong recommendation for a cracking read.



  1. Greg wants to read these too. I however need to wait for the American films to be made due to my interminable illiteracy.

  2. Didn't I tell you?
    I've only seen the 1st Swedish film but I liked it - I thought that they did a very decent job. I'm with you on the American remakes - please... why bother. They can't be improved upon.

  3. Cubby, I really must chide you about your characteristic, just now and again, of selling yourself short. You've always appeared highly intelligent and (unlike some) totally rational. To that prove you CAN appreciate these I'd like you to acquire the DVDs in the Swedish language with English subtitles BEFORE they are spoilt by re-makes. But you must see them in order. (It wouldn't surprise me too much hear that there are dubbed versions going around. That would be as bad as re-filming them.) I know that you're not a great reader - you've acknowledged it before - but all three films follow the books quite closely. Now go and enjoy! I look forward to reading your report in due course.

  4. Craig, I do hope you're going to follow up on seeing the succeeding two filmed parts.
    I don't know if it's just me but when I read 'Tattoo' and 'Hornet's Nest' I could envisage the parts of those films as I read. However, with 'Fire' rather fewer of that film's images came to mind. I want to watch the trilogy again but I'm wondering if the second film followed the book less closely - or maybe when watching it had my mind been elsewhere? Anyway, in either of the forms the threesome is worth anybody's time.
    I suppose one advantage of re-makes is the increase of revenue to the author or, as in the case of Larsson, his estate. Can't think of ANY other pluses!

  5. Ok Ray, at your strong suggestion I just added the three Swedish films to my Netflix queue. But I need you to tell me, what is the correct order?

  6. Cubby - fair question. I loaded the pictures above on the actual blog-submission screen in one line, left to right, but no matter which way I did them, I couldn't get them to come out aligned on this screen. The correct order is - Dragon - Fire - Nest. When you've seen them, please do tell us what you think - and if it turns out that you wonder what all the fuss was about (though I don't think you will) I won't think any less of you.

    Dr Spo - TGRs? Oh dear, let me think. Uhm, no. No good. Must stand for something blindingly obvious but I'll have to ponder on that one. (Can anyone help?)

  7. Hello Ray:
    The Stieg Larsson Trilogy....ripping yarns indeed, we loved them. As for Salander, well, she most certainly goes into our top ten female heroines of all time...rather a contrast to Elizabeth Bennett and Jane Eyre, however, whom we also admire but for rather different reasons!!

    We have found you via the comments which we have read on Jason's lively and witty blog, a regular read for us. And, as we are near neighbours when in the UK [ which we are not very often] we have signed ourselves as Followers to keep in touch with your eclectic and original view of life on the Sussex coast.

    We did have a sneak peek at your previous posts and can see that music and books are important elements in your life. Perfect!!

  8. Jane and Lance, thank you for the honour! Ever so happy to have you as followers, even moreso when we have cultural likes in common. Yes, Jason's blog provides me with a daily entertainment, but it also requires time to do him justice, something which is not always available - despite the fact that I've been retired some years now. But, as with cleaning, it's a question of priorities. Here's looking forward to exchanging more direct comments in future.

    Btw I'm wondering if also you saw the films of the trilogy. The Salander portrayed there, close to the book original, would scare me silly and I'd have avoided such a person like the plague, if only not to be the target of her rudeness and put-downs. But from a distance, yes, she is a formidable individual.

  9. Dr Spo - oh, those TGRs! Am I not just too slow on the uptake? The penny dropped a couple of hours later. My own blog title! It WAS blindingly obvious after all. Shame shame shame!

  10. Ray, I'm not surprised you loved the books and the original Swedish films. I loved the books and we both thought the films were some of the best we have seen this decade.

    On the films- Unfortunately, Americans like to ruin things, hence the remakes. There is no good reason, it's simply what we do. Like locusts, but worse. Stan and I love to watch films made elsewhere and try to see as many as we can. There is nothing like seeing stories through others' eyes and experiencing different languages, music, and culture. Most Americans don't get that. Films made elsewhere are a bother, even inferior. Massive xenophobia at work.

  11. Totally agree with your review! What a shame the films are being remade in the US (well, now they'll be "movies"). The Swedish originals are brilliant.

  12. Kyle, I think it's more laziness on the part of the viewer that determines where money can be made by re-making a non-English speaking film. ("It's a good idea so let's squeeze more money out of it, for OURSELVES!")People find it just too much trouble to read subtitles, preferring to be spoon-fed. The British are just as lazy as other nationalities though it's noteworthy that our film industry (admittedly far smaller than the American) has rarely gone in for English re-makes of foreign films. In fact off-hand I can't think of a single one in my lifetime, but I'm sure there must be a few at least.

    I'm pleased you loved the books AND the films. I wonder which you saw first. It's usually the case that reading the book first lessens the impact of the film, so I maybe I did it the right way round.
    Just two days ago I saw the new Almodovar - 'The Skin that I Live In'. Remarkable piece of work, despite the massive, totally unexpected retrospective twist half-way through (which doesn't bear too close scrutiny!). I do hope they leave it alone. It can't be improved on. Or will we really have to endure a tawdry re-make?

  13. Mitch, haven't they recently re-filmed another good Swedish film. 'Let the Right One in'? I saw the original which impressed me - surprising as I don't normally care for vampire films; not because I fined them scary but I just find the concept rather dull. I think the re-make might have been and gone by now. If so, I'm not going to chase after it, though might watch it on TV, probably switching off before it's over.
    Yes, as in my comment to Kyle above, I too lament this mad pursuit of bucks by mangling a fine work of art as though integrity is something expendable. But then if there wasn't a demand for it they wouldn't do it, and this just reflects the sad values of contemporary society.

  14. Hello Ray:
    Thank you so much for your reply.

    No, sadly, we have not seen the Larsson Trilogy in film. As we spend most of our time in Budapest where there are several 'Art' cinemas, that is usually where we watch films. However, the thought of seeing the Larsson films in Swedish with Hungarian subtitles was a step too far!!! In addition, we do wonder whether we really just prefer to know the stories through the novels.

    And, we are delighted that you have signed up as a Follower to our own blog. We agree that we seem to have many shared interests and we look forward to developing our dialogue in the future on these and other issues.

    Have a happy weekend!

  15. No, thank YOU, J & L. :-) As I've just said on my Doris Day blog, but happy to say again, you have a nice weekend (by the waters) too.