Thursday, December 24, 2009

What goes around...

The Infinite Plan, Isabel Allende.
Gregory is a lonely man, he doesn't know it for most of the novel but he is lonely and running from himself and his losses.As someone who has been this person I could entirely relate to the premise if not the individual circumstances behind this.
The Infinite Plan itself preaches of Karma-like experiences, what goes around comes around. You will see this reflected in the story. While the copyright for the English translation is 1993, you see much of this story reflected in our times, now. Gregory's story could be ours, the United States, story. In the way we don't always learn from our mistakes nor self regulate enough. We seem to overlook fundamental values for monetary values/ We could benefit from entertaining life as if we were humble peasants instead of facing life as if we were rulers of all kingdoms.
While staged in the U. S., this is an Isabel Allende novel. I would highly recommend it.


The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson.
Yes! Another fantastic read by Stieg Larsson, why o why did he have to die? My original thoughts were that because of occurrences in the first novel I already had this second novel figured out. How wrong I was!
Again, this novel had me guessing until the end with many layered twists and turns between the first page and the last.
The main characters are the same, Lisbeth, the girl with the dragon tattoo, and Michael, the political journalist with the heart of gold. This time the mystery had more to do with Lisbeth. Was she a multiple murderess or being framed? Who is Zala, a Kaiser Soze type character?
For much of the story Lisbeth is absent, leaving the reader to question her innocence. Then she uses her prodigious hacking skills to infiltrate Michael's computer with messages leaving just enough information to keep him searching while she is also conducting her own investigation.
Kudos to Stieg Larsson for another drug-like, well written suspenseful novel. Now bring the third in this series to the U.S.!

Really? Asperger's Syndrome?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson.

Shortly after I finally decided to read this book I learned that the author had had a fatal heart attack a couple of years ago. I was immediately disappointed, I had already read enough to know that I loved these characters and this style.

The main character, the girl with the dragon tattoo, is a tragic, stoic, antisocial creature or her upbringing. I believe I've heard terms such as asperger's syndrome and autistic used to describe her. Since some of this is written first person, it's easy to avoid those terms, being in her mind vs. judging her from outside. I have some sympathy for the character you can see.

The other main character is a womanizing, loyal, political journalist. A man true to his word but just a little mixed up personally. A likable character, I think.

With many layered twists and turns the bulk of the story lies in solving a thirty - forty year old family mystery. This mystery wasn't nearly as straightforward as I expected, which I always admire in a mystery. If I figure them out too quickly they are a bit disappointing no matter how well written & interesting the rest of the story is.

I found this story so intriguing that I immediately reserved the second book in this series and read it just as quickly.

I would strongly recommend this to any fan of mysteries and will probably bring it up as my next book club choice.

I am excited for the release in the U.S. of the third book and hear that there is a fourth book on Stieg Larsson's laptop, but his estate may hold that one up for a while.