Valentine’s rejection left you feeling bitter? What better way to vent your rising hatred of Milk Trays and rose bouquets than by indulging in a hyper-violent Scandinavia saga? Here’s an essential primer to Stieg Larsson’s trilogy
Lisbeth Salander: The girl with the dragon tattoo. Distrustful of authority, and a socially awkward outcast, her photographic memory and computer hacking skills all make up for her faults.
Mikael Blomkvist: An investigative journalist for Millennium magazine. A philanderer, he is Lisbeth’s best ally.
Over the course of three books, Millennium and Lisbeth take down right-wing extremists, crooked psychiatrists, business tycoons, a secret division of the Swedish Security Service and some Russian sex traffickers. Basically, they take down, to reference the Arctic Monkeys, one ‘scummy man’ after another.
Salander is an unlikely feminist literary hero. She is not a model human being, but the way she fights against evil patriarchal forces will put shiny white Colgate smiles on the faces of any feminist. After all, the original title of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in Sweden is ‘Men Who Hate Women.’ More importantly though, it’s a book which reveals that even in a society, which professes compassion, tolerance and love, there are powerful people willing to hide some nasty secrets, and so hurt the most vulnerable people in the process. If you think that Sweden is the socially democratic utopia that many claim it is, think again.