cold comfort

Irresistible Targets takes aim at the latest Arnaldur Indridason novel in the Erlendur series and thinks Hypothermia scores a bull’s eye. Read the whole review; it’s a corker. But I can’t resist quoting some of it.

The book is billed ‘A Reykjavik Murder Mystery’, and there is enough old-style detection here to make this story almost cosy, the tale of a cleverly-worked out killing. But there is nothing cosy about the heart of the novel, which is about the real way people react to death, and to loss, and the way a shutting down, or closing off, a coldness toward the world, can have intense consequences. This is one reason Hypothermia, which also presents a clue in the murder mystery, may be a better title for a book called Hardskafi in Icelandic. This is a book about emotion, about love, about loss, and about closure. It doesn’t have a ‘happy’ ending, but it has the kind of ending that reflects exactly what it is saying about life and death. Indridason has been building to this point, carefully, with his previous books, yet you don’t need to have followed them to appreciate this one. But Hypothermia will take on added resonance if you have. It is a fine novel, the best yet in a very strong series, and as I said the best I’ve read thus far this year.

Definitely on my “read as soon as possible” list.

For the lucky souls who live in or near New York City, here’s a free event you’ll want to put in your calendar:
Where Fiction & Reality Collide: Norwegian Crime Fiction Panel

Monday, October 19, 2009
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Scandinavia House
58 Park Ave (@ 38th Street)

Despite the fact that the Global Peace Index ranked Norway as the third most peaceful country in the world and the homicide rates in Norway are among the lowest on the planet, more people are murdered every year in the pages of Norwegian crime novels than are murdered in Norway itself. A panel comprised of Norwegian crime authors Kjell Ola Dahl and Anne Holt, along with Norwegian Police Counselor, Odd Malme Berner and moderator Sarah Weinman, will discuss the rise of Norwegian crime fiction.
Supported by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.

Meanwhile, on the Girl Who front, Dorte and husband give us a sneak preview of the film version of Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. I’m looking forward to the film, though the actress does not at all match my inner portrait of Lisbeth Salander. And as Dorte’s husband says, she does not appear to have Asperger’s. UPDATE: see the Bookwitch’s full review here.

This has come up before. I see from a quick “look inside” search of the first book that Bloomqvist speculates Lisbeth might have Asperger’s – because of her phenomenal memory and ability to see patterns (not that all Aspies have phenomenal skills). Of course, in the second book, many people assume Lisbeth is psychotic and illiterate – and are quite surprised to find out she’s none of the above. Somewhere in an online discussion Reg Keeland, the translator, expressed surprise at the Autism/Asperger’s assumption, but here I see someone comment at Bookwitch’s blog that Stieg Larsson confirmed she was an Aspie. And an interview with his editor also suggests Larsson had it in mind when creating the character.  So I’m not at all sure what to think. I’m not sure labels are really helpful.

If you want to read more about Asperger’s I recommend Asperger Square 8, an excellent and thought-provoking blog (including things about labels).

7 thoughts on “cold comfort

  1. My alter ego reviewed the film yesterday:

    Apologies for the review being rather poor (it was the middle of the night and I was very tired). The film is excellent, and we couldn’t see how a Hollywood version would improve it. Rather the contrary, I imagine. But even as a Swede, I found some things quite shocking. You don’t ‘see’ all the gore when you read the book.

  2. Oh, and I felt the same about the actress playing Lisbeth. She didn’t seem to quite fit the image I had of her. That all changed with seeing her act. She looks different in the movie than what you see from the stills.

  3. That’s good to know. It’s always hard to see your “own” characters depicted by actors, but good acting makes all the difference. I want this film, NOT a remake. (grrrrr)

  4. yes, I was at the same premiere with Karen (Euro Crime), and the UK release of film 1 is April, apparently. My review of the film (at Petrona) is here:

    I could not remember what Lisbeth was supposed to look like in the book by the time I saw the film as it was so long ago that I read it, but as suggested above I was a bit concerned by the image on the film poster. I needn’t have worried, the film, and in particular the performance and character of Lisbeth, absolutely make it. It is a fantastic film and though I hate graphic violence in films (I will not watch horror films for example) the “graphic” scences in this film were upfront but not sensationalist or “lovingly dwelling”, so that was fine by me. A film with a big heart and wearing it right on its sleeve, very much taking forward the mission of the book.

    The only tragedy is having to wait so long for the UK release of film 1, and then for 2 and 3 afterwards (I have no info about when or if they will get UK release.)

  5. PS a little coincidence, Michael Carson, the author of Irresistible Targets and the Hypothermia review you excerpt here (which I can’t read as I have not read the book yet, it is next on my pile), was also at the same permiere as Karen and me. We were all guests of the UK publisher of the novels, MacLehose Press.

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