Girl 3

Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (2007; tr Reg Keeland, Maclehose Press 2009)

Also known as: The queen in the palace of currents of air – A Rainha no Palácio das Correntes de Ar (Portuguese), La reina en el palacio de las corrientes de aire (Spanish), La Reina al palau dels corrents d’aire (Catalan), La reine dans le palais des courants d’air (French); The queen of the houses of cards – La regina dei castelli di carta (Italian); Justice – Gerechtigheid (Dutch); Forgiveness – Vergebung (German); Exploding  castles in the air The Castle in the Air That Was Blown Up (thanks to Reg Keeland in the comments for the correction) Luftslottet som sprängdes (Swedish, original), Luftkastellet der blev sprængt (Danish), Pilvilinna joka romahti (Finnish), Luftslottet som sprengtes (Norwegian). Dear commenters, please correct my translations of these titles if you think they need it.

Plenty of material there for a prediction exercise in a literacy class, and then there are the covers:

In fact, as you would expect, neither the titles nor the covers actually tell you much about the book at all. It’s very long, hard to put down, and could have done with more stringent editing. All of its twists and turns are signalled well in advance, and there’s a prolonged anticlimax. but I liked it more than the other two. The Pippi-Longstocking-esque Lisbeth Salander is confined to a hospital bed and then a prison cell for almost the whole book, so the author’s irritating fascination with her didn’t have a lot of room to play. Perhaps perversely, I enjoy the regular pauses in the action in which characters explain to each other the specifics of the Swedish legal–political system and constitution. I even came to savour the meticulous plotting of police procedures and tracking of journalistic protocols that regularly slow the action to a crawl.

3 responses to “Girl 3

  1. The Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian titles can all be translated (literally if not elegantly) as “The Castle in the Air That Was Blown Up” [singular] — by Lisbeth, I guess. The French title was based on Stieg’s original title, since they were the first to translate from the original manuscript.

    Sorry you didn’t like the extensive editing that was done in the UK. I didn’t either, hence the pseudonym. Thanks for the Portuguese title, hadn’t seen that one.


  2. Thanks so much for commenting, Reg. Of course I have no idea what was done in the editing, – my remark was shorthand for a complaint about the amount of recapitulation. I find the English of your translation awe-inspiringly natural, and I wish now that I’d said so in my blog post. Your own blog is a delight to explore.


  3. Thanks for the kind words, Jonathan. Though I can’t vouch for what the Finnish title means. My half-Finnish wife was denied the pleasure of learning the language by her parents, who kept it as their secret language… Keep checking my blog, more pix from Söder on the way, including Lisbeth’s secret luxury apartment!


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