hirez: (Radiation)
[personal profile] hirez
Grim. I rather thought I might like those Stieg Larssons, too.

Date: 2009-10-27 12:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moral-vacuum.livejournal.com
Although I note that she doesn't criticise Val MacDermid, who produces some very dicey stuff indeed.

Are the readers necessarily enjoying the violence, or are they enjoying the excitement of the detection and the catharsis from the subsequent punishment? My dear wife reads all sorts of violent crime fiction full of maimers and serial killers - her misogyny is doubtful, however, as is her psychopathy.

Date: 2009-10-27 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
Oh, it's entirely up to them. As a matter of personal wossname, though, I won't (haven't ever, really) have anything to do with that sort of malarkey.

Date: 2009-10-27 10:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
Although, I guess there's a case to be made for stepping out of my agreeably Wallace Arnold head-space and wallowing in the filth of humanity.

On the other hand, I have a dim enough view of the bastards already, so I don't particularly see why I should reward the makers of, say, 'Saw'-type films, True Crime magazines or Lurid Novels with my money and tacit approval.

Meanwhile, I'll cheerfully read the more unhinged segments of Banksie's work. Hm. Though I have no wish to re-read Canal Dreams or A Song Of Stone now I think about it. Perhaps not so inconsistent as I thought.

Date: 2009-10-27 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jarkman.livejournal.com
I liked #1 a great deal, and have #2 on the pile.

There's certainly a discussion to be had about the place of violence in entertainment, in a raft of ways, but I didn't see #1 as a particular offender.

Date: 2009-10-27 07:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] childeric.livejournal.com
That article has a great many things wrong with it, but the one that made me give up in disgust was this:

Larssson’s Swedish liberalism only takes him so far though: while two of the three women who sleep with Blomkvist in the book are bisexual, Blomkvist himself has “zero interest in men”. He’s “so straight”, apparently, that a girlfriend “liked to tease him about being a homophobe”.

So being heterosexual is not liberal? How about that it might possibly be a perfectly legitimate way of being and not something that one has to apologise for, nor any sort of indictment of one's pc cred?

Date: 2009-10-27 08:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
Hm. Indeed. Authors are not their works.

Date: 2009-10-27 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mr-tom.livejournal.com
Yes, that.

Date: 2009-10-27 10:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivory-goddess.livejournal.com
My take on all this is that it reflects reality - to a certain extent. Men may be more commonly victims of crime as a whole, but serial killers tend to be men and they tend to attack women.

You read fictional crime books about serial killers, the victims are generally going to be women. You read a book where the story is about sex trafficking, the victims are going to be women. Plus I've read crime books where killers attack both men and women, so its not always women.

And the Larsson books are bloody good reads.

Date: 2009-10-27 11:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoo-music-girl.livejournal.com
What she said.

I'd also add that I don't feel the attacks in the Larsson books are described in a prurient way, in fact the really grisly ones singled out in that article all happened a long time ago and are only described in a police report - there's no lingering over the victim's emotional state or what's happening to her, which is when I think it all starts to turn into violence porn in some crime books.

Date: 2009-10-27 02:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoo-music-girl.livejournal.com
I've now reread that article a couple of times and I'm actually really quite annoyed by it, I don't think it reflects the spirit of Larsson's novels at all and I think it's magnifying the violence and taking it out of context. Most of the article is actually talking about examples of sexual violence in other works that are nothing to do with Larsson.

Oh, and the way the women are killed in the first book is actually relevant to the plot - I realise you could argue that the plot doesn't have to be that way, but it does make sense in context.

I probably wouldn't read Song of Stone twice either, but I might read these again, and I didn't hesitate to lend them to my dad.

The section in the article about Salander's breasts is also out of proportion to the amount of space that takes up in the book, and the author of the article is very much concentrating on the first book, which is about a serial killer of women, rather than the second, which isn't, and has much less sexual violence in it.

I don't think Larsson's books are great literature, but they are a good read and I think this article is really unfair to him, his intentions definitely seem to be honourable. And as for giving him a hard time for being a bit of an idiot about not sorting out his will before his entirely unexpected and premature death, I think that's low.

I don't read James Patterson books (I only made that mistake once) and I don't read any other books that feature serial killers or watch films like SAW because I do think they tend towards violence porn, but I enjoyed Larsson's books.

I also don't think it's giving Larsson enough credit for some of the strong female characters in the books. Salander is a bit of a cartoon figure, but Erica isn't, she's a woman with a successful career and private life, and there are plenty of other women in the books who are not fuck ups either.

Sorry, rant over. Not sure why that article annoyed me so much, I'm not *that* big a fan of the books. For balance you might like to check out this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/13/stieg-larsson-nick-cohen

Date: 2009-10-27 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
No apology required. It's an odd sort of area and one that makes me go non-linear unless I'm thinking about it sensibly.

(I'd forgotten that I'd read the Cohen piece before. Well reminded. Ta.)

So I think the shorter answer is that I shall read the things.

Date: 2009-10-28 12:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naturalbornkaos.livejournal.com
Agreed! Great link there too.

It - the article - does play up the violence a lot. The particularly graphic scenes it describes are described in such a way in the book (ie: in a sentence), which is something I enjoyed. We don't read about any of that violence "as it happens" from either the point of view of a victim or the killer. It's all just talked about in dialogue or read about in newspapers by other characters. Which makes a BIG difference...
Edited Date: 2009-10-28 12:03 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-10-28 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surliminal.livejournal.com
Oddly my physio, who is a formidable woman, just recommended these books to me..

Date: 2009-10-28 11:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naturalbornkaos.livejournal.com
As someone who agrees with the principles of the article and generally HATES the type of crime/horror writing that it hates, I really enjoyed both the Larsson books I've read and think the piece does them a disservice. Violence against women is a VERY difficult subject to write and it's shocking and disgusting how much of it appears lecherous. Especially in the world of horror movies - the recent influx of very torture-heavy movies, I find repulsive for this very reason.

It's all personal opinion but I really rate him as a writer and think it's unfair to lump him in with the rape/revenge genre (something I personally hate for many reasons, one of which is how people watch something like "I Spit On Your Grave" and somehow think it's "feminist" because the protagonist takes revenge, without really questioning why the presentation is thus that we have to endure over an hour of graphic degradation, followed by about fifteen minutes of perfunctory "revenge").

I certainly agree wholeheartedly regarding Patterson and Koontz, etc, but I dunno. I felt Larsson had WAY more intelligence and compassion than that and although there were one or two scenes that veered towards uncomfortableness I always thought he managed to justify it elsewhere in the writing. Not just that but I felt - as opposed to those guys, for whom rape/torture is just part of the "entertainment" - the whole POINT of his books was to examine and attack both rapists and the problems with patriachal culture.

I would say that there's no right answer in how to interpret an author's work but my mileage - coming from a similar angle to the article you posted - varies. I'd say check them out for yourself.
Edited Date: 2009-10-28 11:58 am (UTC)


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