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Today marks the birthday of Lisbeth Salander, the feisty and bewitching heroine of the late Stieg Larsson’s hugely successful Millennium trilogy, comprising of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. In celebration of all things Lisbeth, today has been dubbed Day of the Girl, to remind everyone why she captured the world’s imagination, how she broke the mould of crime fiction heroines and why everyone across the world should be excited that she’s coming back. Take a trip around the blogosphere today, as we all celebrate Salander, and just what Larsson’s trilogy meant to us…

As an avid crime reader, Lisbeth was a breath of fresh air, a highly intelligent but emotionally disturbed young woman, who is the real lynchpin of the whole series, and whose professional and personal relationship with the more grounded and steady journalist Mikael Blomkvist, delighted from the outset. In Lisbeth’s character, underscored by a steely determination shaped by the violent episodes of her past, Larsson provided the crime genre with one of the most compelling and complex heroines. With her unconventional appearance, her resilience born out of her instinct to survive, navigating the harsh realities of life she has experienced, her strong moral core, and her natural aptitude for technological wizardry and disguise, she is one of the most intriguing female protagonists the crime genre had produced. I remember seeing a great quote saying something along the lines that in Lisbeth Salander, Larsson had bottled lightning, and I can only agree. She is mercurial, strident, brave and intuitive, and compounded by the depth of the plots in terms of socio-political detail that Larsson brings to these thrillers, it is little wonder that the trilogy so captured our imaginations, and proved such a publishing phenomenon.

CDwgTJpW0AIyvQDHowever, it is perhaps as a bookseller, that I felt the biggest effect of Larsson’s arrival on the crime scene. As word spread about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, being the must-read book, I was extremely gratified as to how this book in particular enabled so many non-crime readers to embrace the genre. Time after time, book buyers who would never countenance reading crime books, shared with me that this was the first crime book they had read, and more importantly, enjoyed, and who then discovered a whole world of new delights, not only in the Scandinavian crime genre, but in the realm of crime fiction generally. Thanks to Larsson’s more literary style, and vivid evocation of Scandinavian society, hardcore fiction readers, suddenly discovered that crime fiction casts the most real and compelling window on the world. Even now, when I’m approached for crime recommendations, I more often than not here the words, “I loved the Stieg Larsson books”, which is always a great springboard for conversation and new books for them to discover. Hence, I am delighted that this year will see another addition to the series, despite the sad loss of Larsson himself, and am already feeling a sense of anticipation growing as we await the fourth instalment, with David Lagercrantz’s The Girl In The Spider’s Web

Find out more about #dayofthegirl  by following the Twitter hashtag, and by following @QuercusBooks and @MacLehosePress. And here’s the trailer below for The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

 

 

 

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