quarta-feira, 25 de julho de 2012

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

To start off Stieg Larsson is one hell of a writer. To think that his book was rejected by the publishers the first time he tried to get it published is almost imaginable. 
It starts as what seems to be a simple story with an easy language and routine plot. Nope, totally not. As you go getting into the book each new character inserted, chapter passed on, action and suspense which take place you then notice that you are totally into it to where you cant seem to close the book even after the wee hours of the night. 
Lisbeth Salander is a young girl who has a photographic memory and posseses the advanced ability of internet hacking (this main character, Lisbeth was inspired on a friend of his whom he watched get gang-raped at the early age of 15).  Mikael Blomkvist is an older man who works as a journalist for Millennium together with his boss (and lover) Erika Berger. After having taken a few hard blows on life and being charged for slander and false accusations against the  Wennerström's group Mikael ends up accepting a strange job offer: discovering what happened to Harriet Vagner (the neice of a rich corporate business man, Henry Vagner) who misteriously disappeared more than thirty years ago. Along the lines of this job, Blomkvist and Salander become workmates who through all means possible (both legally and illegally) go through every unimaginable situation find out the inner scoope in both Harriet Vangner's and Wennerström's  secret affairs. To say more would be to ruin the book. You have to read it for yourself to get to know what it feels like to have a book rule your night hours. 


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (original title in SwedishMän som hatar kvinnor – literally, men who hate women) is a crime novel by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. It is the first book of the "Millennium series" trilogy, which, when published posthumously in 2005, became a best-seller in Europe and the United States.[1]


When Larsson was 15, he witnessed three of his friends gang-raping an acquaintance of his named Lisbeth, and he did nothing to help her. Wracked with guilt, he begged her forgiveness days later, but she angrily refused. The incident haunted him for years afterward, and in part inspired him to create a character named Lisbeth who was also a rape victim.[2][3]
Larsson writes within the novel, in Chapter 12, "It's actually a fascinating case. What I believe is known as a locked room mystery, on an island. And nothing in the investigation seems to follow normal logic. Every question remains unanswered, every clue leads to a dead end."
He supplies a family tree explaining the relationships of five generations of the Vanger family.
With the exception of the fictional Hedestad, the novel takes place in real Swedish towns. The Millennium magazine featured in the books has characteristics similar to that of Larsson's magazine, Expo, which also had financial difficulties.[4].

[edit]Plot summary

In December 2002, Mikael Blomkvist, publisher of the Swedish political magazine Millennium, loses a libel case involving allegations about billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. He is sentenced to three months in prison, and ordered to pay hefty damages and costs. Soon afterwards, he is invited to meet Henrik Vanger, the retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation, unaware that Vanger has checked into his personal and professional history; the investigation of Blomkvist's circumstances has been carried out by Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant but deeply troubled young woman who works as a surveillance agent with Milton Security.
Vanger promises Blomkvist considerable financial reward and solid evidence against Wennerström, in exchange for writing the Vanger family history. Vanger believes that his great-niece Harriet, who disappeared 36 years earlier, was murdered by a member of the family. He has been trying to find out what happened to her ever since. Harriet disappeared during a family gathering at the Vanger estate on Hedeby Island, when the island was temporarily cut off from the mainland by a traffic accident. Blomkvist moves to the island and begins his research into the history of the Vanger family and Harriet's disappearance.
Lisbeth Salander is under the care of a legal guardian, Holger Palmgren, the only person she trusts. When he suffers a stroke, he is replaced by lawyer Nils Bjurman, who takes advantage of his position to sexually abuse her. After using a hidden camera to record Bjurman raping her, she takes her revenge, torturing him and threatening to ruin him unless he gives her full control of her life and finances. She also brands him with a tattoo identifying him as a rapist to make sure he never harms anyone again.
While searching through the evidence, Blomkvist decides that he needs a research assistant, and Vanger's lawyer mentions Salander. When he sees the report she prepared for Vanger, Blomkvist realises that Salander has hacked into his computer. Salander agrees to assist in the investigation, and eventually becomes his lover. Blomkvist and Salander soon realise that they are on the trail of a serial killer who has been preying on women for decades. When looking through old photographs, Blomkvist realises that they contain a clue to the murderer's identity.
After an unseen assailant tries to kill him, Blomkvist becomes suspicious of Harriet's brother, Martin, and goes to his house. Martin has expected him, however, and takes him prisoner. Martin reveals that he was "initiated" as a teenager into rape and murder by his late father, Gottfried, who had also molested him. Martin brags about murdering dozens of women, but denies killing his sister. Martin tries to kill Blomkvist, but Salander arrives just in time and saves Blomkvist's life. Martin flees in his car, and commits suicide by driving head-on into a truck.
By following a trail that leads first to Cecilia's sister Anita, who now lives in London, Blomkvist and Salander find out that Harriet is still alive and living in Australia. Blomkvist flies over and meets Harriet, who tells him that her father had repeatedly raped her until she killed him in self-defense; Martin saw her do it, and began sexually abusing her until he was sent away to boarding school. She saw him on the day of the accident, and asked Anita to smuggle her out of Sweden in order to get away from him.
Blomkvist persuades Harriet to return to Sweden, where she reunites with her uncle, who makes plans for her to take the position of CEO of the Vanger Corporation. Blomkvist accompanies Salander at the funeral of her mother, who has just died. Salander also tells him that, as a child, she had tried to kill her father by setting him on fire.
Henrik Vanger gives Blomkvist the promised evidence, which turns out to be useless. However, Salander has already hacked Wennerström's computer and has discovered that his crimes go far beyond what Blomkvist documented. Using her evidence, Blomkvist prints an exposé and book which ruins Wennerström and catapults Millennium to national prominence. Meanwhile, Salander steals more than 2.4 billion Euros from Wennerström's secret bank account.
Blomkvist and Salander spend Christmas together in his holiday retreat, and Salander admits to herself that she is in love. She goes to Blomkvist's house with a present for him, but retreats on seeing Blomkvist with his longtime lover and business partner, Erika Berger. Heartbroken, she throws the gift into a skip and leaves the country.
As a postscript, Salander continues to monitor Wennerström, and after six months anonymously informs a lawyer in Miami of his whereabouts. He is found in Marbella, dead, shot three times in the head.


  • Mikael Blomkvist – A journalist, publisher and part-owner of the monthly magazine Millennium
  • Lisbeth Salander – A freelance surveillance agent and researcher, specializing in investigating people on behalf of Milton Security
  • Henrik Vanger – A retired industrialist and former CEO of Vanger Corporation
  • Harriet Vanger – Henrik's great-niece
  • Martin Vanger – Brother of Harriet and CEO of the Vanger Corporation
  • Gottfried Vanger – Martin and Harriet's deceased father
  • Isabella Vanger – Gottfried Vanger's wife and Martin and Harriet's mother
  • Cecilia Vanger – Daughter of Harald Vanger and one of Henrik's nieces
  • Anita Vanger – Cecilia's sister and one of Harriet's second cousins
  • Birger Vanger – Cecilia and Anita's brother
  • Hans-Erik Wennerström – A corrupt billionaire financier
  • Robert Lindberg – Banker and Blomkvist's provider of background to libellous feature
  • William Borg – Blomkvist's nemesis
  • Monica Abrahamsson – Blomkvist' wife whom he marries in 1986 and divorces in 1991
  • Pernilla Abrahamsson – Their daughter who was born in 1986
  • Holger Palmgren – Lisbeth Salander's lawyer and legal guardian
  • Nils Bjurman – Lisbeth Salander's legal guardian and lawyer after Palmgren
  • Erika Berger – Editor-in chief/majority owner of Millennium monthly magazine, and long-standing lover of Blomkvist
  • Dirch Frode – Former lawyer for Vanger Corporation, now lawyer with one client: Henrik Vanger
  • Dragan Armansky – CEO and COO of Milton Security
  • "Plague" – Computer hacker/genius
  • Christer Malm – Director, art designer and part-owner of Millennium
  • Janne Dahlman – Managing editor of Millennium
  • Gustaf Morell – A retired Detective Superintendent
  • Anna Nygren – Henrik Vanger's house keeper
  • Gunnar Nilsson – Henrik's caretaker

[edit]Major themes

Larsson makes several literary references to the genre's classic forerunners, and comments on contemporary Swedish society.[5] Reviewer Dessaix writes that "His favourite targets are violence against women, the incompetence and cowardice of investigative journalists, the moral bankruptcy of big capital and the virulent strain of Nazism still festering away ... in Swedish society."[1]
Larsson further enters the debate as to how responsible criminals are for their crimes and how much is blamed on upbringing or society.[1] Salander has a strong will and assumes that everyone else does, too. She is portrayed as having suffered every kind of abuse in her young life, including an unjustly ordered commitment to a psychiatric clinic and subsequent instances of sexual assault suffered at the hands of her court-appointed guardian.

[edit]Reception and awards

The novel was released to great acclaim in Sweden and later, on its publication in many other European countries. In the original language, it won Sweden's Glass Key Award in 2006 for best crime novel of the year. It also won the 2008 Boeke Prize, and in 2009 the Galaxy British Book Awards[6] for Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year, and the prestigious Anthony Award [7][8] for Best First Novel.
Larsson was posthumously awarded the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for International Author of the Year in 2008.[9]
The novel received mixed reviews from American critics. In a review for The New York Times upon the book's September 2008 publication in the United States, Alex Berensonwrote, "The novel offers a thoroughly ugly view of human nature"; while it "opens with an intriguing mystery" and the "middle section of Girl is a treat, the rest of the novel doesn't quite measure up. The book's original Swedish title was Men Who Hate Women, a label that just about captures the subtlety of the novel's sexual politics."[10] The Los Angeles Times said "the book takes off, in the fourth chapter: From there, it becomes classic parlor crime fiction with many modern twists....The writing is not beautiful, clipped at times (though that could be the translation by Reg Keeland) and with a few too many falsely dramatic endings to sections or chapters. But it is a compelling, well-woven tale that succeeds in transporting the reader to rural Sweden for a good crime story."[11] Several months later, Matt Selman said the book "rings false with piles of easy super-victories and far-fetched one-in-a-million clue-findings."[12]
As of June 3, 2011, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had sold over 3.4 million copies in hardcover or ebook formats, and 15 million copies altogether, in the United States.[13]

sábado, 14 de julho de 2012

The Parisian Guide to Chic - Ines de la Fressange

PARIS!!! Just the sound of it reminds you of croissants, bitter-sweet red wine in crystal glasses, brioches and baguettes for breakfast, enticing lingerie, fresh briskly walks up to the Eiffel Tower, snooping around the Louvre, meals à la carte, classical ballets at the theater, souvenir shopping for bric-à-bracs, brunette belles strolling in the streets towards The Champs-Élyséesquaint homes and hotels. Ahhh it's what we call France!!! 

Inès de la Fressange, former muse to Uncle Karl and renowned model, has written a guide to Parisian style, along with Sophie Gachet: this book! It takes you inside this  beautiful fairy tale town and teaches you how to become a Parisian even though not being in France. It starts with fashion and style tips and from there you are given a list of the best places to go shopping, eating, visiting and sleeping. The whole book is covered in beautiful colorful pictures which takes you to Paris in your own dreams and fantasies.  

Adieu Brazil... Hello France!!!

Diva - Martha Medeiros

One thing that we all love to do yet we usually dont know how to do is speak about ourselves. We all have a picture of what we are being that this visualization of ourselves which we have is nothing more than a grouping of how others see us (and sometimes not even that!). We describe ourselves as hardworking just because our job strains us and at the end of the day it seems like a truck ran over us, we modestly tell others we consider ourselves good looking but deny to say that when we look ourselves in the mirror we see a knockout sure to make all onlookers turn their heads in our direction (but no, we won't ever say that as then we "se acha"), in our heads we are good citizens just because we pay our taxes, monthly house bills, and sometimes a friend's dinner bill as well. But all of this doesn't mean anything at all and Martha Medeiros leaves that clear in this book of hers. We all have many, many facets, personalities and characters inside ourselves.
Sometimes I am European - calm, quiet, elegant and refined. On other days I am wild, loud and confusing - so very Mexican I would say. I can be a lady, mother, business woman, child or a clown. Other days I am burlesque, a bitch, a courtesan, a thieving mind, a spy, a madwoman as well. Sometimes I find myself a maid, a slave, a tender woman, a submissive wife, a shy Lolita, a nymphet - I wont say more as it gets promiscuous. Others now say I am quite the boss, the owner, the leader of the group, the serious CEO. These are all parts of me and nothing more, nothing less. I am an intricate puzzle - so puzzling it is startling - even violent. And to look into myself and discover all of this, describe all of this is the largest task. It is so large it turns my head, spins my mind and confuses my very soul. 
This is what "Diva" does to us. The whole book is a woman sitting on her shrink's couch and baring her soul to him. All of it. From her sexual desires, boring married life, what she considers as true friendship, thoughts on death, that sudden passion that out of nowhere creeps on us - everything which happens in that thing...what was it really? Ah yes, what we call "life". 
Didn't understand half of what I said? Try reading the book - if you are a woman - understanding comes easily. 

Book Review:

Cronista consagrada no sul do país, admirada por intelectuais e poetas, Martha Medeiros, que já vendeu 50 mil livros, combina irreverência e lirismo em textos curtos e contemporâneos. Autora de 11 livros, a autora faz sua estréia na ficção com DIVÃ.

Na verdade, o mundo inventado por sua protagonista é abertamente inspirado na realidade que ela captura em suas deliciosas crônicas. DIVÃ conta a história de Mercedes ? uma mulher com mais de 40, casada, filhos ? que resolve fazer análise. O que começa como uma simples brincadeira acaba por se transformar num ato de libertação; poético, divertido, devastador. Marinheira de primeira viagem em terapia, a personagem encara o consultório como se fosse uma espécie de alfândega que vai dar o visto para ela passar para o lado mais oculto de sua personalidade.

Ao deitar-se no divã, Mercedes não hesita em alertar o terapeuta: "Sou tantas que mal consigo me distinguir. Sou estrategista, batalhadora, porém traída pela comoção. Num piscar de olhos fico terna delicada. Acho que sou promíscua, doutor Lopes. São muitas mulheres numa só, e alguns homens também. Prepare-se para uma terapia de grupo."

Dona de um texto simples e brilhante, Martha nos seduz com uma narrativa envolvente e catalizadora. O leitor que a princípio se transforma numa espécie de voyeur, é levado por espiral de acontecimentos reveladores. Ao final da leitura se vê cúmplice das loucuras, conflitos e questões existenciais da personagem, e se dá conta que ele também, em vários momentos, estava deitado em seu próprio divã.

Mercedes é uma mulher que se parece um pouco com qualquer mulher. Divertida, pragmática, inteligente e sim, por que não? superfeminina. É do tipo corajosa, daquelas que não têm medo de nada. Capaz de administrar bem a casa, os filhos, o marido e até mesmo seus ataques de vaidade. Ela nos parece muito segura de si, daquelas que possuem controle sobre tudo. Será?

Ao se deitar naquele divã, Mercedes se dá conta de suas armadilhas cotidianas. Ao entrar neste jogo catártico, ela nos confidencia que a liberdade é atraente quando nos parece uma promessa, mas pode nos enlouquecer quando se cumpre.

quarta-feira, 11 de julho de 2012

Santas e Doidas - Martha Medeiros

Martha Medeiros is a fresh burst of ideas, inspiration and plain good thinking on all the most varied topics ever. In this book of hers she recommends many good books and movies and adds her own personal opinion on each one of them. She also borders on the topics of womanhood, sex, loneliness, being adventuresome, plain bad sense and bad taste, how too much certainty is insanity,  rotten Brazilian politics and politicians, motherhood, passion, betrayal, the price and what certain things in our lives are worth and of course she couldn't not speak about life, death and the meaning of it all. In this book I discovered that we share the same admiration and interest for Irvin D. Yalom's psychiatric books. 
In one of her "short stories" she quotes Dr. Yalom where he says (in one of his many books) that there are four things in life that are certain:
1) Death is the only thing we are sure of in life yet it is what hits us most unexpectedly
2.) Our loneliness is never ending. We all arrived here on Earth alone and alone we will always be.
4.) Life is pointless.

If you think about it that pretty resumes all about life there is to know. Yet Martha knows how to put it so simply written on a piece of paper and make you think, ponder and act on all the crazy ideas that go inside your head that come from those few pages of this book of hers.
Another topic she hits upon is how there are no sane or insane women (here she focuses especially on women but I believe it applies to us all). There are only insane women or dried and dead women who once used to be insane as well but out of lack of luck, love or lust (or all three) they have dried up and cornered themselves to their own little spaces refusing to let their crazyness come out once again for fear of having to suffer, cry, breakdown and feel all the feelings that come together with living and being alive. In the end we all have only two choices: either to cool away and shut down all and any that might make us hurt and suffer - yet these same people are also the ones that might make us love and laugh - or be open to it all: the joy, pain, madness, dance, sorrow, loneliness, fulfillment, passion, betrayal, anger, happiness, astonishment, surprise, love. It is all just a choice of which madness you prefer. And in the end it is pretty clear that sanity is the worst insanity.

Just for the sake of change this once I won't be posting a book review on this book but yes Martha Medeiro's original text which gave name to this fantastic book!

Toda mulher é doida. Impossível não ser. A gente nasce com um dispositivo interno que nos informa desde cedo que, sem amor, a vida não vale a pena ser vivida, e dá-lhe usar o nosso poder de sedução para encontrar the big one, aquele que será inteligente, másculo, se importará com nossos sentimentos e não nos deixará na mão jamais. Uma tarefa que dá prá ocupar uma vida, não é mesmo? Mas além disso, temos que ser independentes, bonitas, ter filhos e fingir de vez em quando que somos santas, ajuizadas, responsáveis, e que nunca, mas nunca, pensaremos em jogar tudo pro alto e embarcar num navio pirata comandado pelo Johnny Depp, ou então virar loura e cafetina, ou sei lá, diga aí uma fantasia secreta, sua imaginação deve ser melhor que a minha.
Eu só conheço mulher louca. Pense em qualquer uma que você conhece e me diga se ela não tem ao menos três dessas qualificações: exagerada, dramática, verborrágica, maníaca, fantasiosa, apaixonada, delirante. Pois então. Também é louca. E fascina a todos.
Nossa insanidade tem nome: chama-se Vontade de Viver até a Última Gota.
Só as cansadas é que se recusam a levantar da cadeira para ver quem está chamando lá fora. E santa, fica combinado, não existe. Uma mulher que só reze, que tenha desistido dos prazeres da inquietude, que não deseje mais nada? Você vai concordar comigo: só se for louca de pedra.

Martha Medeiros