This brings me up to date with all of Connelly's Hieronymus Bosch novels, except for the newest. He and John Sandford are really the best and most proThis brings me up to date with all of Connelly's Hieronymus Bosch novels, except for the newest. He and John Sandford are really the best and most prolific of the genre, especially since there are no recent Matt Scudder books from Lawrence Block on the new book shelves (though Scudder is not police). This title connects to another book in the series, The Poet, and to Blood Work, not a Bosch novel. But Harry is outside the department here, working privately, and so the real procedural aspects of the book are less firm. They do come into the narrative from the presence of the FBI, who are typical hardheads. ...more
This concluding novel is the best of them, despite the excellence of its predecessors. It's immersive because the complexities of character and plot eThis concluding novel is the best of them, despite the excellence of its predecessors. It's immersive because the complexities of character and plot evolve so deliberately. It's about information, the loss of personhood, the slow growth of trust, and the fragility of self under the animosity of the state.
Here is what I wrote about Lisbeth Salander for an audience of readers this evening.
"Lisbeh Salander is a brilliant misfit, created and isolated by the despicable behaviors of abusive men, nearly all hidden from public view by deception and power. She is a child when damaging acts are forced upon her; Larsson’s novels are about the recovery of an adult self that transcends victimization and seeks resolution. Though nearly invisible, she is an enigma – every person in her world reacts to her -- and cultivates the qualities that sustain secrecy.
She has an extraordinary intellect, capable of reorganizing patterns and seeing relationships among patterns; physical dexterity and grace; courage, resolution; hardness covering extreme vulnerability. She is sexually intense and willful, but not loving. She is exceedingly slow to trust and therefore lacks all that trust allows: humor, communication, friendship, intimacy, warmth, and conviviality. She actively denies these things and keeps them outside her life.
Her computer skills allow her to find not just information but to reconstruct the logics and traces of other lives, to understand what other people know and how they communicate. The computer extends her mind and has no limit. She is capable of extraordinary analysis, but also can go beyond solutions to the moral core of behavior, where she recognizes a deeper kind of entirely just resolution.
She is an anarchist, freely crossing boundaries, responding to no authority, allowing no external power to affect her. However, she is a severe judge of others. Because she stands outside order (police, law, family) she is capable of a more pure sensibility of what justice means. In this, she is more willful than reasonable, more dedicated than logical: at times, she is a remote catalyst or provocateur of justice. In most ways, she is relentless, suspicious, and uncompromising."
And (forgive my length) here is what I wrote about Mikael Blomkvist.
"… an investigative journalist whose profession is his life, piercing and exposing corruption, undoing lies and deceptions, displaying an absolute intolerance for injustice and secrecy. He considers himself and his fellow journalists to be agents of democracy, public conscience and trust. He is patient, self-critical, independent, and devoted to uncovering and nurturing truth, an evolving entity.
He embraces journalism as a way to capture and hold events up to light. Writing is a way to describe both what he knows and what he does not know. A parallel skill to Salander’s expert hacking, his writing is a force of consciousness and memory as he practices it. It sets the world right, as he sees his job to be. Writing conquers power and wealth, and is a force for change.
Unlike most journalists, he is accorded respect by the police and the government. He is single-minded in his heroism. In the presence of information, he is able to evaluate it and contextualize it instantly.
While he is sexually voracious and has multiple partners, he is also respectful of rules and privacy. His partners covet him and feel compelled by him, but they also find him to be somewhat aloof, not monogamous, diverting and satisfying, but insufficient for the long term.
The men in the novels can be evaluated by their stance toward Lisbeth and their culpability in her history of brutal treatment. The strongest men respect her courage and admire her, though she stands apart from them. Their evolution and humanity is marked by awareness of the truth about her experiences. Among other men – brutes, murderers, and sadists -- perversion and amorality are sanctioned; women are destroyed and discarded without thought. In contrast, Blomkvist lives for integrity, to right the unjust world." ...more