So, to me The Girl Who Played with Fire was by far the best of the three. Hornet’s Nest was too little Lisbeth, too much everyone else. And I was baffled that he had let drop the thread of Lisbeth’s twin sister. I was sure there must have been a fourth novel, and I was right.
Since his lover hints she helped him write the novels, girl, get on it. Hard to say why these novels are so utterly compelling. Decades ago I read Knut Hamsen‘s Hunger. More recently but still decades ago I read Smila’s Sense of Snow. The Scandinavia thing is not nearly as important here as this absolutely kickass protagonist, who is fascinating even when going to Ikea and buying mundane items.
The Help was for me very intimate, since I was raised by a black women and my mother was an unsettling force in my life. The novel didn’t live up to its promise, I thought. The ending didn’t deliver on the menace she had developed so well, Miss Hilly didn’t get annihilated as she should have been, the narrator going to New York as the author did as well was a cop out, and I wanted some closure with Stuart. I compare The Help to Water for Elephants in that they share the same literary space, have the same degree of difficulty, a level below “literary,” and yet above “commercial.” Water for Elephants was more satisfying. You closed the book with a sense that every thread was snipped off, patted down, and shaken out. Perfect. The Help ended with its slip hanging down.
19. The Help, Kathleen Stockett
18. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, Stieg Larsson
17. The Short Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
16. Await Your Reply, Michael Chaon
15. The Higher Power of Lucky, Susan Patron
14. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane,Katherine Howe
13. Dragon Haven, Robin Hobb
12. The Hemmingses of Monticello: An American Family, Annette Gordon-Reed
11. Bookman’s Wake, John Dunning
7-10. The Spellman Files, The Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans, The Spellmans Strike Again, Lisa Lutz
6. Bardo: Interval of Possibility, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
5. Booked to Die, John Dunning
4. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
3. The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larson
2. Beautiful Creatures
1. The Silver Mage, Katherine Kerr
1-6 Rune Blade Trilogy, Sword in Exile Trilogy, Ann Marston