sábado, 25 de agosto de 2012

The Paris Wife - Paula McLain

No truly great story finishes in love and "happily-forever-after" ...
Some stories are really beautiful and this is one of these stories. Reading this book was like a torrent of emotions welling up inside of me: first the joy and laughter at seeing Happy Hadley meet her Prince Charming and have him whisk her away to Paris where they endure their hard hard years of poorness, isolation and adapting to the new country. Yet at this time their love is stable and firm like a rock. And then it all changes - ever rising, continuously growing: money, drinks, cigarettes, trips to Pamplona, parties, popularity and philosophical figures - they come all at once. But the fall is just around the corner - not quite as fat as it many times happens but their love and life built together falls nonetheless. 
Of many things in this book one is quite true: no one we love is lost forever because some part of them will always be inside our very innermost soul. 
Paris. Yes, it is all about Paris! The city of love, the city of hate - where all the passion and the pleasures of life are mixed together leaving tortured souls trapped inside of her. Trapped inside their minds because they invented it all inside their heads.
Together they built it all also together they destroyed it in just one second. 
The same way it was with Hadley and her forever love story with Ernest Hemingway. She discovered that fighting for a love that has gone is like trying to live in the ruins of a lost city. Some things we know we can stand them yet others we just have to accept that we can stand to loose. 

Book Review:

No one ever accused Ernest Hemingway of creating memorable women characters — except perhaps in his posthumously published Paris memoir, “A Moveable Feast,” where he idealizes his first wife, Hadley Richardson, as the alter ego who shared with him the good old days before fame and fortune and another woman wrecked it all.
Hemingway Collection/JFK Library, via Associated Press
Hadley and Ernest Hemingway in 1922.


By Paula McLain
320 pp. Ballantine Books. $25.
Hadley Richardson now comes into her own, sort of, as the long-suffering wife in Paula McLain’s stylish new novel. Narrated largely from Hadley’s point of view, “The Paris Wife” smoothly chronicles her five-year marriage to the novelist, most of which was spent in Paris among aspiring writers when, as McClain’s Hadley recalls, “we were beautifully blurred and happy.” This is her own movable feast: Paris was fresh, the wine was flowing and “there was only today to throw yourself into without thinking about tomorrow.”
Though initially disgusted by the expatriate community, which, as the fictional Hadley remembers, “preened and talked rot and drank themselves sick,” Hemingway was ineluctably drawn into its orbit — and then into the orbit of the rich, who “had better days and freer nights. They brought the sun with them and made the tides move.” No one does this better than chic Pauline Pfeiffer, a wealthy Midwesterner who works for Vogue, wears “a coat made of hundreds of chipmunk skins sewn painfully together” and sets her cap for Ernest. “Keep watch for the girl who will come along and ruin everything,” Hadley warns herself, after the fact.
There’s a certain inevitability, then, about what happens in “The Paris Wife.” Based on letters and biographies, and on Hemingway’s own ample recollections of Paris, the novel proceeds by the book — all the books, in fact, about Paris in the 1920s, including those by Hemingway — and thus bumps against the usual expatriate suspects, like Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound, who, as Hadley almost apologetically explains, “were or would soon become giants in the field of arts and letters, but we weren’t aware of this at the time.”
Livelier and fresher is the reconstruction of Hadley’s youth. The migraine-ridden daughter of a suffrage-minded mother and an alcoholic father who had committed suicide, Hadley is a sheltered young woman from St. Louis who plays Rachmaninoff on the piano while yearning to break free of the staid “Victorian manners keeping everything safe and reliable.” Hemingway is just the ticket. Though eight years her junior, he is an ambitious, proud fledgling journalist intending to be a great writer. “There wasn’t any fear in him that I could see, just intensity and aliveness,” Hadley notes with cloying naïveté. The couple meet in Chicago, soon marry and, on the advice of Sherwood Anderson, bolt the monotonous Midwest for adventure, paid for partially by Hadley’s inheritance, in the City of Light.
But the city soon turns gray and rainy. Forlorn whenever Ernest leaves her, Hadley tries to keep him from going to Smyrna to cover the Greco-Turkish war. “I was asking him to choose me over his work,” she acknowledges. His refusal signals the beginning of the end. Two months later, when Ernest is covering the peace conference in Lausanne, Hadley plans to meet him there and, for a surprise, to bring him all his manuscripts, including carbon copies and a novel-in-progress. She packs them into a small suitcase, then somehow manages to lose the bag on the train.
Fighting him with the only weapon at her disposal — passive aggression — she has also forgotten to bring her birth control. Hadley wants a child; Ernest does not. “What was really unacceptable were bourgeois values, wanting something small and staid and predictable, like one true love, or a child,” she says without affect. “I was supposed to have my own ideas and ambitions and be incredibly hungry for experience and newness of every variety. But I wasn’t hungry; I was content.”
In Pamplona, Hadley identifies with the bulls. “My body was doing what it was meant to do,” the now pregnant Hadley reflects, “and these animals, they were living out their destinies too.” Of course, as we know all too well, Hadley isn’t any more insulated from disaster than the animals in the ring, though she, like Hemingway, again blames the rich Americans who ride into Pamplona in chauffeured limousines — and who “spoil everything.”
What to do? Eat, drink and not think about tomorrow, à la Hemingway — or at least according to a ravenous Hadley, now a Hemingway character manqué. “I found I was hungry,” she says when they settle into a cafe after watching a man being gored at a bullfight, “and that it all tasted very good to me.” We recall the physically damaged Jake Barnes of “The Sun Also Rises,” who takes refuge in food and alcohol and in acting hard-boiled but cries himself to sleep at night. As Jake’s female counterpart, the symbolically impotent and resolutely unmodern Hadley lulls herself for a short time into a willful state of denial while her writer husband shapes “disaster and human messiness” into “something that would last forever.” In other words, she rationalizes her grief by romanticizing Hemingway’s talent.
While McLain’s portrait of this impossible marriage can be harrowing, it can also be frustrating, for Hadley rarely emerges from her wistful cocoon. And though McLain’s Hemingway declares his Paris wife “better and finer than the rest of us” — and McLain seems in part to agree — the praise sounds portentously like Nick Carraway’s salute to Jay Gatsby. McLain has transformed Hadley into a Mrs. Gatsby not because Hadley is rich or powerful or corrupt but because she is the opposite of all these things. And that means she is hardly more than a stereotype, alas, caught in a world not of her own making.

PS: I Love You - Cecelia Ahern

If anything I was disappointed by this book. I heard so many people speak so well concerning the movie and I am sure that influenced me in buying the book - but as most always happens when we put too many expectations on one thing...yes, I was disappointed!
No tears (I love crying or almost crying when reading books), no big lesson, no touching moment - and even the parts in which I believe I was meant to laugh all I felt was "corny". 
It could also be that because the whole story is about a overly dependent on her husband widow learning how to get up and get on with life - and my life just has absolutely nothing in common with the main character of this story (not only my life but my personality as well) and so that might have been the reason me and this book just didn't click.
Now on the other hand, just watching the trailer of this book it seems so nice, funny and light - my type of movie! Who knows for once in history the movie IS better than the book. Can't wait to to prove to myself it is really so, hah! 

Wikipedia on "PS: I Love You":

P.S. I Love You is Irish writer Cecelia Ahern's first novel, published in 2004. The book reached #1 bestseller status in Ireland (for 19 weeks), the United Kingdom, the United StatesGermany, and the Netherlands.

Characters in "P.S. I Love You"

  • Holly Kennedy - The main character
  • Gerry Kennedy- Holly's husband
  • Sharon McCarthy - Holly's best friend
  • John McCarthy - Sharon's Husband
  • Denise Hennessey - Holly's best friend
  • Tom O'Connor - Denise's fiance
  • Daniel Connolly - Holly's friend
  • Elizabeth Kennedy - Holly's mother
  • Frank Kennedy - Holly's father
  • Richard Kennedy - Holly's older brother
  • Meredith Kennedy - Richard's wife
  • Timothy Kennedy - Richard's son
  • Emily Kennedy - Richard's daughter
  • Jack Kennedy - Holly's brother
  • Abbey - Jack's girlfriend
  • Ciara Kennedy - Holly's younger sister
  • Mathew - Ciara's Australian boyfriend
  • Declan Kennedy - Holly's younger brother
  • Leo - Holly's hair stylist
  • Barbara - A travel agent
  • Chris Feeney - Holly's boss
  • Alice Goodyear - Holly's secretary
  • Charlie - A bartender
  • Laura - Daniel's ex-girlfriend


Despite the hype and commercial success, (Irish political figure Bertie Ahern's daughter) Cecilia Ahern's debut novel drew mixed-to-negative reception. Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) gave it three out of five stars, stating that Ahern's book is "funny and emotional" but criticised his impression that the message of the book was one of getting over the death of a loved one by "getting drunk and shopping".[1] The Guardian wrote a satirical review in which Ahern's shallow characterisation and melodramatic plot were lampooned.[2] The Clare County library called the book "overhyped", "predictable" and "full of stock characters", but lastly an "easy read... and a nice holiday read".[3] calls it "at times repetitive and her delivery is occasionally amateurish [but] Ahern deserves credit for a spirited first effort".[4]
The plot is uncannily and extremely similar to that of a 1997 Korean film entitled The Letter[5][6] & the Indian film titled "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai".

[edit]Movie adaptation

A film adaptation of the book was released in 2007 with Hilary Swank as Holly, and Gerard Butler as her husband, Gerry. James Marsters plays John McCarthy and Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays William Gallagher. The cast included Kathy BatesHarry Connick, Jr.Gina Gershon and Lisa Kudrow. Filming began in October 2006 in New York City and Ireland, and the movie was released on 21 December 2007 in the United States (see below for other release information).[7]
Although box office numbers were high, critics gave the film poor reviews. As of January 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 21% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 82 reviews.[8] Metacritic reported that the film had an average score of 42 out of 100, based on 15 reviews.[9]
The scripts used in the production of the movie all had to be revised because page 76, line 13, did not read "I love you, Holly Kennedy," and instead mistakenly read "I love you, Holly Bok."[10]

[edit]Differences between novel and film adaptation

The major difference between the novel and its film adaptation is that, in the novel, the main characters Holly and Gerry Kennedy are Irish. In the film, only Gerry is Irish, Holly and her family are Irish Americans, and the two live in New York. Also in the novel, Holly has numerous siblings, but in the film she has one. In the film, Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays William, a character who does not exist in the book. Another change is that in the books, the letters arrive all in a package together and Holly is expected to open them once a month. In the movie, the letters are delivered by mail. However, the film remains fairly true to the novel, and all of Gerry's letters are virtually unchanged.

quarta-feira, 8 de agosto de 2012

Something Blue - Emily Griffins

 Ok, so you start reading this book and you just cant stop laughing. It is hilarious, light, superficial - so much that it almost gets retarded and idiotic - but not just quite. The main character, Darcy, narrates her life story to the reader: always beautiful, popular, funny, able to have any guy she wanted all she lacked was a bit of IQ. But that was no problem as her best friend Rachel was a storehouse of brains and wiz and at the slightest hint of a problem she was the one to fall. And then Darcy's perfect little world starts to crumble. Her perfect fiancee, Dex, leaves her for her best friend Rachel. Not that that was such a big deal because Daring Darcy was cheating on Dex with his best-man, Marcus, for quite a while now. Next problem happens when she gets pregnant of Marcus and he dumps her. And so does her mother and her whole family. Her friends disappear, her job goes haywire, she then realizes she is at the end of her rope and in a desperate attempt to begin all over again from scratch she moves to London to live with her last friend remaining: smart, sweet Ethan. From this point of the story everything changes. It still continues to be a light read but instead of crying tears of laughter you start wiping tears of so touched you are by the story. Motherhood, honesty, true friendship, love and relationships, family, forgiveness, renewal and personal change is what happens to Darcy  and makes you wish it could happen to you too. Beautiful!!! Thumbs up to Emily Griffin!!! 

Book review: ‘Something Blue’ by Emily Giffin

Darcy Rhone has made a career — and life — on her charisma and attractiveness. Coupled with the fact that she’s always been the hottest woman in any room and far more beautiful than her best friend since childhood, Rachel, Darcy’s existence has centered around her high-powered PR job, gorgeous (and paper-perfect) fiance Dex and their lavish lifestyle in New York City.
Until she discovers Dex has been cheating on her with plain ol’ Rachel — and until she begins sleeping with Marcus, one of her groomsmen in the upcoming wedding she’d planned with Dex, her boyfriend of seven years. And until she gets pregnant.
And then? Things get complicated.
Emily Giffin’s Something Blue, sequel to the mega-successful Something Borrowed, centers around Darcy’s life as she struggles to get over the ridiculous, over-the-top life she’s created for herself through a lifetime of selfish decisions — and struggles with impending motherhood and the idea of the “perfect man,” whomever he may be. (And chances are it just isn’t Marcus.)
If you’ve read Something Borrowed – and, before starting this one, you should — you’ll remember our dear Darcy as the spoiled, bratty and wholly unlikeable best friend of Rachel, our narrator in the first of Giffin’s novels. Despite the fact that I knew Dex and Rach’s tryst was wrong, it was so obvious that they were in love — not Dex and Darcy — that you couldn’t help but cheer for the star-crossed lovers. Basically, Darcy just sucked. And I didn’t really want her to be happy.
Well, Giffin once again proves her mastery in the fiction genre by taking someone I was predisposed to despise and making me cheer for her. For the first half of the book and then some, Darcy is up to her old tricks and nonsense, making terrible decisions and living in a dream world in which she’s not reallypregnant. Marcus turns out to be a world-class jerk — no huge shock — but you can’t help but feel sorry for him as Darcy waxes on and on about whether Dex and Rachel are happy, badgering him to death about how Dex could have reallychosen someone like Rachel over her.
But then things begin to change. After Darcy makes a decision to leave New York and stays with Ethan, a good friend since childhood, she’s forced to take a serious look at herself in a mirror: and doesn’t like what she sees, particularly reflected through Ethan’s eyes. And when Darcy decides enough is enough, I was right there with her, ready to see some serious changes and root for her through her pregnancy and love affairs. From the beginning of the novel, Darcy’s tone of voice indicates she’s reflecting back on a less flattering time of her life — and knowing that she would have to change kept me with her on the journey.
Even at her very worst, Something Blue is compulsively readable because of the commanding way in which we see the world through Darcy’s (skewed) lens. Giffin’s fast-paced, silky writing keeps readers moving quickly and, though I often wanted to punch Darcy for being so hopelessly shallow, it was easy to see that she was a product of her upbringing . . . and we can only hope things will change for the next generation.
Fans of chick lit are probably acquainted with Giffin already, but if not? Definitely pick up Something Borrowed and follow it up with this sequel, two of the “classics” in the women’s fiction genre.

terça-feira, 7 de agosto de 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

The last book to Stieg Larson's sequel - and just saying so is a pity. He is such an incredible writer and knows how to grip his reader that it is sad to know there won't be anymore stories coming from him. 
The good thing though of this being the last book is that you FINALLY get to the end and discover the whole story, all the tinest details, the truth about every sneaky (and non sneaky) character - and all by all the hidden secrets that are only revealed at the very end of a suspense novel such as this one. 
Besides reading all the three books I also watched all three movies as I felt it would be cool to "put a face to the figure". The movies are fantastic as well but nothing compared to the books (though this was to be excpected!) as there are just so many little things that go missing when you make a movie - just the fact that you can't narrate the character's thoughts is a huge thing. 
So for those who are looking for a gripping read (the kind that keeps you up all night, no kidding!) run to your nearest bookstore and make this book - I mean, these books - all yours!!!  


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (original title in SwedishLuftslottet som sprängdes, in English literally The Castle of Air That Was Blown Up) is the third and final novel in the best-selling "Millennium series"[1] by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. The novel is the sequel to The Girl Who Played with Fire. It was published posthumously in Swedish in 2007 and in English in the UK in October 2009.
The US and Canadian editions, published on May 25, 2010, are titled The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, with "hornet" in the singular form.[2][3]


The book begins as Lisbeth Salander is flown to Sahlgrenska Hospital. It picks up where The Girl Who Played with Fire left off.

[edit]In the hospital

After surgery, she is moved to an intensive care ward under guard, accessible only to police, doctors, nurses, and her lawyer, Annika Giannini (who is also Mikael Blomkvist's sister). Zalachenko, whom Salander injured with an axe, is two rooms away. Niedermann is on the run from the police after murdering a police officer and carjacking and kidnapping a woman during his escape. Niedermann seeks help from his old friends at the outlaw Svavelsjö Motorcycle Club, kills the treasurer and steals 800,000 kronor before disappearing.
Evert Gullberg, the founder and former chief of "the Section", a secret division of Swedish Security Service (Säpo) that harbored and protected Zalachenko, asks former Section associate Frederik Clinton to become acting head of the Section and plots to deflect attention away from the Section by silencing Salander, Blomkvist and Zalachenko.
They first form a working alliance with the unsuspecting prosecutor of Salander's case, Richard Ekström. Dr. Peter Teleborian, the psychiatrist who supervised Salander when she was previously institutionalized, provides Ekstrom with a false psychiatric examination and recommends that she be reinstitutionalized, preferably without a trial.
Gullberg, who has terminal cancer, murders Zalachenko in his hospital bed and then commits suicide. Section operatives stage a suicide for Gunnar Björck, the junior Säpo officer who had handled Zalachenko after the latter's defection, and who was Blomkvist's source of information about the Section. Other Section operatives burgle Blomkvist's apartment, mug Annika Giannini, and plant bugs in the homes and phones of Millennium staff. Undeterred, Blomkvist continues to investigate the Section for a Millennium exposé.


Blomkvist hires Dragan Armansky's Milton Security to handle countersurveillance. Armansky informs Säpo Constitutional Protection Director Torsten Edklinth about the constitutional violations. Edklinth, along with his assistant Monica Figuerola, begins a clandestine investigation into the Section. After Figuerola confirms the allegations, Edklinth contacts the Justice Minister and thePrime Minister who approve a full investigation by Constitutional Protection, and later invite Blomkvist to a confidential meeting in which they are to share information. They agree to Blomkvist's deadline—he intends to publish his findings about the state's manipulation of Salander's constitutional rights at the beginning of her trial. Meanwhile, Figuerola and Blomkvist have an affair.
Blomkvist convinces Salander's doctor, Dr. Anders Jonasson, to return her handheld computer. Blomkvist arranges to have a phone placed in a duct leading to Salander's room, allowing her to access the Internet and communicate.

[edit]Berger subplot

Erika Berger leaves Millennium to be editor-in-chief at Sweden's largest daily paper, the fictional Svenska Morgon-Posten (S.M.P.). Meanwhile, Henry Cortez, a reporter at Millennium, uncovers a story about a Swedish company manufacturing toilets that engages child labour in Vietnam. After a while he discovers that the boss of the firm is Magnus Borgsjö, who is also the major shareholder of S.M.P. and therefore Berger's boss. Blomkvist gives a copy of the story to Berger, and she decides to confront him. Berger also begins receiving graphic emails and threats. The stalker even breaks into Berger's home and steals scandalous private materials belonging to Berger. Berger engages Milton Security to help secure her home, and hires a Milton employee named Susanne Linder to help protect her home. With the help of Lisbeth, Berger's stalker is exposed as a fellow employee at S.M.P. and high school classmate of Berger, Peter Fredriksson. Linder confronts Fredriksson and recovers Berger's things. However, Fredriksson also stole the story that Blomkvist gave Berger, and anonymously e-mailed Borgsjö the story. Borgsjö orders Berger to suppress the story at Millennium. Berger decides to print the story in S.M.P. in Cortez's name, and then resigns from S.M.P. and returns to Millennium. Borgsjö and Fredriksson are forced to resign.
On the eve of Salander's trial, the Section, desperate to silence Blomkvist and destroy his credibility, hire two members of the Yugoslav mafia to murder him and Berger, while planting cocaine in his apartment. Figuerola and her fellow agents are able to intercept and foil their plans. Blomkvist and Berger go to a Milton safehouse until the trial. Berger intuits Figuerola's and Blomkvist's affair, and promises Figuerola to stay clear of Blomkvist as long as they are together.
Meanwhile, Salander is transferred to prison to start her trial.


On the third day of Salander's trial, Giannini systematically destroys Teleborian's testimony, proving: that the Section and Teleborian had conspired to commit Salander at age 12 to protect Zalachenko, that Salander's rights had been repeatedly violated, and that they were once again conspiring against her. During this time, Millennium's exposé of Zalachenko and his abuses against Salander and her family, along with a book entitled The Section, are released, becoming the story of the year. The same day, teams from Edklinth's unit arrest the ten members of the Section. Blomkvist and Edklinth provide evidence proving that Teleborian's recent "psychiatric assessment" of Salander was fabricated and that he was working with the Section to silence her. Teleborian is later arrested for possession of child pornography, which was found on his computer by Salander and her hacker friends, Plague and Trinity.


With the evidence and credibility of the prosecution shattered, the prosecutor drops all charges against Salander. Freed, Salander embarks on an overseas trip to forget the events. She spends several months at Gibraltar, among other things to pay a visit to the man managing the billions she had stolen from Hans-Erik Wennerström in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She also tracks down Miriam Wu, who is studying at a university in Paris.
As Zalachenko's daughter, Salander inherits half of his properties and wealth, which she has no choice but to accept; the other half goes to her twin sister Camilla. Suspicious about an abandoned factory in her father's estate, she goes there to investigate and finds two dead women and Niedermann, who had been hiding there from the police. After a brief struggle and chase, Salander outwits Niedermann by nailing his feet to the plank floor with a nail gun. She is tempted to kill him herself, but instead leaves the warehouse and reports his location to the head of the Svavelsjö biker gang, who had previously attacked Salander. After the gang arrives, Salander directs the police to the warehouse with Niedermann and the bikers; she then watches as the police arrive and begin a stand-off with the bikers. She leaves before it is over, satisfied that both Niedermann and the biker have received payback. She later learns that Niedermann was killed by the bikers and that the head biker was shot by the police while resisting arrest.
Back at her apartment in Stockholm, Salander receives a visit from Blomkvist. The story, as well as the Millennium trilogy, ends with the two finally reconciling.

[edit]Characters from Larsson's life

  • Svante Branden helps Lisbeth Salander "by denouncing the fraudulent analysis of Dr. Peter Teleborian and the arbitrary internment to which he had subjected her." Stieg Larsson and his life partner Eva Gabrielsson were loaned a student room by the real Svante Branden who, after being neighbors with Larsson in Umeå, was a psychiatrist and a friend. In her book "There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me, Gabrielsson writes that the character and the person were a lot alike because Svante "was against every form of violation of human rights and freedom. When Stieg made him one of the heroes of The Millennium Trilogy, it was a way of paying homage to him." [5]
  • Anders Jonasson, the doctor who helps Salander significantly throughout her hospital stay is based on Anders Jakobsson, a longtime friend of Stieg Larsson and Eva Gabrielsson. His name was changed in the novel to Jonasson after he ran into Erland, Larsson's father, in a supermarket and told him how he felt about Gabrielsson being denied access to Larsson's estate after his death.[5]
  • Kurdo Baksi, Kurdish-Swedish publisher of Black and White magazine and collaborator of Stieg Larsson at the Expo Foundation is mentioned as a character in the books, along with his publishing house.


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest was listed at the top of's bestseller list before arriving in bookstores, extremely unusual for an English-language book in translation.[6] Just as unusually, this book was not made available in paperback until February 21, 2012, or more than two years after its original English-language publication in October 2009,[7] probably because it still regularly appeared in Top 10 best seller lists as a hardcover book (e.g., rated #5 in the New York Times best seller list for the week ending January 29, 2012).[8]
The Millennium series is described in a New York Times review as "utterly addicting", and this, the third in the series, received a good review.[9] Salander is described as "one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while". The combination of her resourcefulness, intelligence and apparent fragility underlies her ability to win the battle to have her re-institutionalized. The compelling character of Salander and her past, completely explained in the volume of the trilogy, is a counterpoint to Blomkvist's more mundane character, writes the reviewer. The novel itself is compared to John LeCarre's cold-war thrillers.[10] Writing for The Guardian, Kate Mosse declares that The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is a "grown-up work for grown-up readers", which she says shows a well-presented plausible narrative.[11] The Los Angeles Times disagrees, describing the plots as "improbable", but notes the popularity of the series, referring to it as "an authentic phenomenon".[12] Writing for The Washington Post, Patrick Anderson claims the third in the series "brings the saga to a satisfactory conclusion".[4]
The overly long and complicated plot is criticized by Marcel Berlins writing for The Sunday Times.[13] The Los Angeles Times critic agrees, pointing at the implausibility of Larsson's plot, the weak writing and characterizations.[12]

[edit]Publication history

Larsson submitted the book to two Swedish publishers, with Norstedts Förlag accepting the manuscript for publication. Norstedts commissioned Steve Murray under the pen-name of Reg Keeland to undertake the English translation.[14]
Alfred A. Knopf bought the rights to the book, along with the preceding two volumes in the series, after Larsson's death in 2004.[15] The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest was published with a first print-run of 800,000 copies.[6]

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Stieg Larson's second book - the sequel of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". In this book the characters remain the same but the story differs largely from the first book. "The Girl Who Played with Fire" expounds of Lisbeth Salander's personal life begining with her childhood, teenage years and at last the mess she is caught with in her lap as the police charge her with the murder of three people. Much to her luck her friend Mikael Blomkvist comes to her aid by believing she is innocent and off he goes into a wild hunt to find out who the real murders are. The story unravels as you go reading page by page and it all becomes a big twist of large events which culmintate at the end of the book. The thing is that as you reach the last page you discover that the story doesn't end and you are just as curious to know how the whole thing will unfold as when you first started - and so you are forced to run to the bookstore and buy the last book of the series called "The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest" and from there you once again enter into the whole adventure head on, the only difference is that this time you know you'll find out the end no matter what!


The Girl Who Played with Fire (SwedishFlickan som lekte med elden) is the second novel in the best-selling "Millennium series" bySwedish writer Stieg Larsson. It was published posthumously in Swedish in 2006 and in English in January 2009.
The book features many of the characters that appeared in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, among them the title character, Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant computer hacker and social misfit, and Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist and publisher of Millenniummagazine.
Widely seen as a critical success, The Girl Who Played with Fire was also (according to The Bookseller magazine) the first and only translated novel to be number one in the UK hardback chart.[1]


The novel is formally divided into a prologue followed by four parts. The prologue of the book opens with a girl captured and restrained inside a dark room by an unidentified male. To cope with being captured, she mentally replays a past episode when she threw a milk carton filled with gasoline onto another man inside a car and tossed an ignited match onto him.

[edit]Part 1 – Irregular Equations

Lisbeth Salander, after finishing the job on the Wennerström affair (described in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), disappeared from Sweden and traveled throughout Europe. The novel opens with Salander at the shores of the Caribbean in St. George's, the capital of Grenada. She has become interested in Fermat's Last Theorem and mathematics, an interest that resounds with the opening page of each Part in this novel. From within her room in her hotel she observes on several occasions that her neighbor, Dr. Forbes, an American tourist from Texas, physically abuses his wife next door to her room. She also befriends George Bland, an introverted sixteen year old student living in a small shack, and she begins tutoring him in mathematics. Salander finds Bland's company relaxing and enjoyable because Bland does not ask her personal questions, and the two develop a sexual relationship.
Lisbeth Salander uses her connections among the hackers' network to investigate Dr. Forbes and learns that Reverend Robert Forbes was once accused of mishandling of funds in his faith-based foundation. Currently he has no assets, but his wife is the heir of a fortune worth $40 million. Due to concerns for safety, the residents at the hotel begin to enter the hotel cellar as a hurricane hits Grenada. Salander remembers Bland and braves the strong wind and rain to collect him. As the two reach the hotel entrance, Salander sees Dr. Forbes on the beach with his wife and realizes that he is attempting to kill her for her inheritance. Salander attacks Dr. Forbes with the leg of a chair, and abandons him to the elements. Salander, Bland and Mrs. Forbes retreat to the cellar and receive medical care; Dr. Forbes is later confirmed to have died during the night.

[edit]Part 2 – From Russia with Love

The second part opens with Lisbeth Salander returning to Stockholm. Immediately before the Wennerström affair became public knowledge, Salander laundered a sum of three billion kronor into a disguised bank account. With this sum she purchases a new up-scale apartment outside of Mosebacke Torg and moves out of her old apartment in Lundagatan. Salander allows a former sex partner, Miriam Wu, to move into her old apartment, for the price of 1 krona and the condition that Wu forward all of Salander's mail.
Nils Bjurman, Salander's legal guardian, continues to brew a growing hatred for his ward after the events of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. His fury has caused him to diminish his practice down to a single client (Salander) and focus his attention on capturing her and destroying the CDs. He scrutinizes Salander's medical records, identifies an incident named "All the Evil" as well as a person from her past as his strongest ally.
In the meantime, Mikael Blomkvist, the publisher of Millennium magazine, has lost all contact with Salander for over a year, as she has refused to even open his letters. He is approached by Dag Svensson, a young journalist who is partners with Mia Johanssen, a doctorate candidate. They have together written a meticulously-researched expose aboutsex trafficking in Sweden and the abuse of underage girls by high-ranking figures, which will be her doctorate thesis and which Svensson now wants Millennium to publish as an expose. Salander hacks into Mikael Blomkvist's computer and learns of the publication, becoming intrigued by the name "Zala" and visiting Svennson and Johanssen to ask questions. Shortly thereafter, Blomkvist, who had been invited to visit the couple on unrelated business, finds them both shot dead in their Stockholm apartment. Salander's fingerprints are on the murder weapon.

[edit]Part 3 – Absurd Equations

Blomkvist notifies Erika Berger, the editor in chief of Millennium and his occasional lover, of the double murders. The next morning, the magazine office holds an emergency meeting to work out the logistics of postponing the publication of Svensson's book and the associated magazine special. The staff decides to backtrack Svensson's research to ensure the accuracy of the material, and to comb through it for possible murder motives, while Blomkvist is tasked with finishing Svensson's mostly-completed book.
Prosecutor Richard Ekström assembles an investigation team, led by Inspector Jan Bublanski, who demands that Sonja Modig be included in the team. The team identifies Salander's fingerprints on the murder weapon. They find Salander's formal record which establishes her as a violent, unstable, psychotic woman with a history of prostitution, and is currently linked to Dragan Armansky at Milton Security and Bjurman. The stark contrast between Armansky's trust in Salander's high intelligence and her official records surprises Bublanski. Bublanski then visits Blomkvist and Berger, who are puzzled by Salander's psychiatric history and her involvement with the murders, but Blomkvist also insists that she has no cognitive or moral deficits. While investigating her social circle, Modig finds Bjurman shot dead in his apartment, with Salander being the prime suspect. In the light of this new data, Ekström holds a press conference and discloses Salander's name and psychiatric history to the press.
Blomkvist enlists the help of managing editor Eriksson to investigate the murders, during which he realizes that Salander has hacked into his notebook computer. He reaches out to her through his computer, and she points him to "Zala". He confronts Gunnar Björck, a policeman on sick leave and one of the johns identified by Dag and Mia, who agrees to disclose information about Zala if Blomkvist agrees to leave him out of Svensson's book.
On the other hand, Milton Security becomes involved in the investigation as Armansky decides to send Hedström and Bohman from Milton Security to aid the formal police investigation. Miriam Wu returns from a Paris trip to find herself taken to the police station and confirms Salander's intelligence and moral character. However, Hedström leaks Wu's identity into the press, and the press publishes extensively about Wu's ownership of a Gay Pride Festival. The press also publishes about Salander's past from childhood to 11, and from 14 onward. Part 3 closes with Salander noting that the source who has been leaking information to the press specifically suppressed information about a key event in her history she calls "All the Evil".

[edit]Part 4 – Terminator Mode

Blomkvist is approached by Paolo Roberto, a boxing champion and Salander's former training master. Blomkvist suggests Roberto seek out Miriam Wu for conversation, as she has been avoiding all press, including Mikael himself. In the meantime, on Salander's suggestion Blomkvist focuses onto Zala as the key connection between the three murders and sex trafficking. As the police continue the investigation, Blomkvist's team also notices the three-year gap in Salander's biography. Blomkvist decides to confront Björck and trade his anonymity for information on Zala.
Roberto, staking out Salander's former apartment in the hopes of catching Wu, witnesses her kidnapped into a van by a paunchy man with a ponytail and a blond giant. He follows the van out to a warehouse south of Nykvarn, where he attempts to rescue Wu by boxing with the blonde giant. He finds his opponent unusually muscular and insensitive to pain, is able to stun the giant but is overcome by the giant's brute strength. Wu stuns the giant by kicking him in the groin and Roberto knocks him out by hitting him with a plank, allowing them to escape together. The blond giant recovers and sets the warehouse on fire to remove all evidence. However, Roberto is able to direct the police to the site, where they find a number of buried and dismembered bodies there; apparently the blond giant has used the warehouse to dispose of troublesome types before.
Visiting Bjurman's summer cabin, Salander finds the missing set of her information and begins to make the connection between Bjurman and Zala. According to the information, Zala's real name is Alexander Zalachenko. She defeats two members of Svavelsjö MC, a known motorcycle gang, including the paunchy ponytail man, leaving more suspects for Bublanski to find. She returns to her apartment and decides to find Zalachenko and kill him. Salander learns of the blond giant's identity ("Ronald Niedermann") and his connection to a post office box in Göteborg and goes there to find him and Zalachenko.
After she leaves, Blomkvist finds Salander's old keys, which he picked up when she was first assaulted. He manages to find her new, up-scale apartment as well as Bjurman's DVD. Between Björck and Salander's former guardian, Holder Palmgren, Blomvkist is able to piece together the entire story: Zalachenko was a Russian defector under secret Swedish protection, whose very existence is kept classified by the Swedish Security Service (Säpo); Bjurman and Björck only knew about him because they happened to be the junior officers on duty the day he marched into a police office and demanded political asylum. Zalachenko later began to traffic sex slaves, whilst simultaneously settling down with an 18-year-old girl who became pregnant with twins, one named Camilla and the other Lisbeth. He was physically and emotionally abusive to his partner, and while Camilla tended to repress all knowledge of the situation, Lisbeth attempted to defend her mother. One day, after he had beaten her into unconsciousness, Salander deliberately set his car alight with gasoline while he was in it. This is the event Salander refers to as "All the Evil," as the authorities, instead of listening to her pleas on behalf of her mother, imprisoned her and declared her insane. Salander's mother was left with the first of a series of brain aneurysms, culminating in her death at the beginning of Dragon Tattoo. Salander learned never to trust authorities. Zalachenko was allowed to walk away, as admitting his culpability would require admitting his existence, which the Swedish government were not prepared to do; however, he suffered serious injuries and had to have his foot amputated. Svenssen and Johanssen were killed by Niedermann, attempting to cover his employer's tracks; when Salander visited them, she asked whether they had any information on Bjurman as a potential john, and they called him immediately after she left; Bjurman then called Zalachenko in a panic, leading not only to their deaths but his own.
Blomkvist does not share all of his findings with Bublanski, in respect for Salander's privacy, but between his testimony, that of Palmgren and Armansky on her character, and the additional accomplices piling up, the police are forced to admit that their original estimation, of Salander as a psychotic murderer, is contradicted by the evidence. Milton Security are ejected from the investigation when it becomes clear that Hedstrom is the inside source who has been leaking sensational details to the press; however, Armansky is satisfied, as his true goal in aiding the investigation—ensuring Salander is not simply condemned as a murderer out of hand—has been achieved. Finally, Blomkvist finds the same Göteborg address that Salander did, and sets off for the farm where Niedermann and Zalachenko await. He has deduced that Salander has entered what Roberto and his boxing friends called "Terminator Mode," where she simply attacks without restraint in fear for her life and those she cares about.
Salander gets there first and is captured due to the motion detectors and cameras Zalachenko had installed. He tells Salander that Niedermann is her half-brother. When Salander attempts to escape, Zalachenko shoots her in the hip, shoulder and head, and Niedermann buries her corpse. Salander is still alive, digs herself out and again attempts to kill Zalachenko with an axe, noting that Zalachenko's use of a Browning .22 firearm is the only reason she survived. On his way to Göteborg, Blomkvist sees Niedermann trying to catch a ride with him. He catches Niedermann by surprise and captures him, tying him against a signpost by the road. The book ends as Blomkvist finds Salander and calls emergency services.


[edit]Main characters

  • Mikael Blomkvist – A journalist and publisher at Millennium magazine
  • Lisbeth Salander – An asocial private investigator, hacker, and accused triple-murderer
  • Alexander Zalachenko (Zala) a.k.a. Karl Axel Bodin – A former Soviet spy who turns out to be deeply involved in Salander's dark past
  • Ronald Niedermann a.k.a. The Giant – Zalachenko's henchman who is connected to Salander in way which she herself does not realize
  • Carl-Magnus Lundin – The President of Svavelsjö Motorcycle Club (Svavelsjö MC). Sells drugs and is commissioned to kidnap Salander for Zala

[edit]Related to Millennium magazine

  • Erika Berger – Editor in chief of Millennium magazine and Blomkvist's on–off lover
  • Harriet Vanger – Majority investor
  • Malin Eriksson – Managing editor of Millennium magazine
  • Christer Malm – Art director and designer of Millennium magazine
  • Dag Svensson – A journalist who is writing an exposé on the Swedish sex trade
  • Mia Johansson – Dag's girlfriend and doctoral student
  • Henry Cortez – Part-time journalist at Millennium magazine
  • Lotta Karim – Part-time journalist at Millennium
  • Monika Nillson – Journalist at Millennium magazine

[edit]Related to Milton Security

  • Dragan Armansky – Salander's former boss and director of Milton Security
  • Sonny Bohman – A former policeman and part of the team Armansky assigns to support the police investigation
  • Johan Fräklund – Chief of Operations at Milton Security and assigned to support police investigation
  • Niklas Hedström – Works for Milton Security and is assigned to support police investigation but sabotages it. A heart problem kept him from becoming a police man. He hates Salander since she caught him blackmailing a client

[edit]Related to police investigation

  • Jan Bublanski – A police officer who is in charge of Salander's case, nicknamed Officer Bubble
  • Sonja Modig – A detective in Bublanski's team
  • Richard Ekström – A prosecutor of Salander's case
  • Hans Faste – Working in Bublanski's team, causing trouble with his sexually discriminating attitude
  • Curt Andersson – Police officer in Bublanski's team
  • Jerker Holmberg – Police officer in Bublanski's team

[edit]Other characters

  • Annika Gianinni – Blomkvist's sister and an attorney
  • Miriam "Mimmi" Wu – A kickboxer, university student and Salander's sometime lover
  • Nils Bjurman – An attorney and Salander's current guardian since Palmgren's stroke
  • Paolo Roberto – A former professional boxer and Salander's boxing instructor. The character is based on the real boxer Paolo Roberto.
  • Gunnar Björck – A Swedish Security Police officer and former punter abusing women. He is also the lead source for Blomkvist on Zalachenko.
  • Holger Palmgren – Lisbeth Salander's former guardian; she visits him in a rehabilitation home and they play a game of chess together. In her memoir "There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and MeEva Gabrielsson tells readers that this chess game was inspired by her brother Björn who Stieg Larsson used to play the game with and with whom he was very close.[2]
  • Greger Beckman – Erika Berger's husband
  • George Bland – Teenage boy whom Salander has an affair with in Grenada
  • Richard Forbes – Reverend and Salander's hotel room neighbour in Grenada
  • Geraldine Forbes – Battered wife of Richard Forbes
  • Sonny Nieminen – Part of Svavelsjö MC and involved in trying to kidnap Salander


The English version was published in January 2009 and immediately became a number 1 bestseller.[1] It received reviews from most of the major UK newspapers. Many reviewers agreed with Joan Smith at the Sunday Times that this novel was “even more gripping and astonishing than the first”. Carla McKay at the Daily Mail said that, like its predecessor, the book is "not just a thrilling read, but tackles head-on the kind of issues that Larsson himself railed against in society".[3]
Most of the reviewers concentrated mainly on the character of Lisbeth Salander, with Mark Lawson at the Guardian saying that "the huge pleasure of these books is Salander, a fascinating creation with a complete and complex psychology."[4] Boyd Tonkin in The Independent saying that "the spiky and sassy Lisbeth Salander – punkish wild child, traumatised survivor of the 'care' system, sexual adventurer and computer hacker of genius" was "the most original heroine to emerge in crime fiction for many years".[5]

[edit]Cultural notes

The character of Paolo Roberto is an actual person. He is a former boxer and television chef who has also dabbled in politics. He played himself in the film based on the book.[6][7]
In the first part of the book, Salander is exploring Dimensions in Mathematics apparently written by L. C. Parnault and published by Harvard University Press in 1999. On February 9, 2009, Harvard University Press announced on their website that this book, as well as the author, is purely fictitious.[8]
The mysterious Karl Axel Bodin, in whose house Salander finds Zalachenko and Niedermann, is a historical name. Bodin was born in Karlstad and later moved to Sundsvall. He went to Norway to join the Waffen-SS; at the end of World War II, he was attached to the country's branch of the Gestapo. At the war's end, Bodin and another Swedish volunteer stole a car in an attempted escape to Sweden. The car's owner saw the theft, and soon a gunfight erupted in which the car owner and Bodin's friend were shot. Bodin left his friend behind and crossed the border.[9]