Steig Larsson – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

I was a huge fan of Stieg Larsson’s other two titles “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” and “The Girl Who Played with FIre.”  Lisbeth Salander is a character who may have been kicked around, but she is not taking it nicely.  A couple of women I talked about his books with felt Larrson glorrifed violence against women, but violence is real.  Bring the smelly garbage up under our noses doesn’t make it stink any more or less.

I knew “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” would be different in tone from the first page.  It is a brief aside about women’s role as warriors.  Lisabeth is a warrior, as she has proven in the first two books.  We open now with her waiting on brain surgery to remove a bullet placed their by her father.  As detailed as the first two books, this one seems mired in the begin with explaining various political and intelligence circles in Sweden.  I found those parts rather dry, but I am hoping as the book progresses, it will come alive.  Update to come.

UPDATE:  I finished the book and it was great.  Lisabeth gets her revenge and even all of the details about the various political and intelligence alliances made sense at the end.  One of the greatest revelations I found was that Lisabeth may have Asperger’s Syndrome.  That would definitely explain some of her quirks and intense focus.

Lisabeth is a character I wish had a further life on the page.  I know there have been talk of a fourth novel that is unreleased, but I am not counting on it soon.

“Houseof Sand and Fog” Andre Dubus III

Published in 1999 by Vintage Contemporaries, this realistic suspense novel was one of my most recent finds at a thrift store. It is an Oprah’s Book Club selection and a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction. This book is well worth the read.
The main storyline is about a wealthy Persian family, the Behranis, that relocates after the fall of the Shah to America. Reduced in circumstances, Colonel Behrani takes a chance and buys a house for sale at a county auction. He envisions selling the house for a profit and starting on his way to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the owner of the house has other ideas about giving up the property without a fight. Kathy Nicolo is a house cleaner, recovering addict and an abandoned wife. She sees the house as her last vestige of stability. A chance meeting with a sheriff brings things into a whirling vortex that will have you staying up late to finish the book.

What I enjoyed most was the description of the harshness of assimilation in a new country, the dynamics of the Behranis and the noir ending of it all. None of the main characters are loveable, but they are human to the last line.