26 September 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson

Without reservation I will say:

  • I loved this book.
  • It is every bit as good as the other two.
  • I read it slowly, read every word.
  • It is bitterly disappointing that Mr. Larsson is unable to write any more. 
May he rest in peace.

What the Dog Saw, By Malcolm Gladwell

A good friend recommended this book, and everyone should have such a good friend. Each one of the essays is nothing less than fascinating, and the overall effect of the book is delightful. Gladwell is a masterful writer with a great curiosity about people, what they do, and why they do it.

The title of the book comes from an essay about Cesar Millan, popularly known as the "dog whisperer." Gladwell gives a brief biography of this very interesting man, and some anecdotes about his work with people.

The Man from Beijing, by Henning Mankell

The beginning of this book is grisly, and astonishing, which gives it great promise. Unfortunately, it simply fails to deliver.

The plot is complicated and interesting, and one suspects that the characters could be as well. Why aren't they?

I know that Henning Mankell created the Wallander series, from which there have been some excellent TV adaptions. This leads me to suspect that Mankell really is good, but that the translator of this particular book may have fallen down.

There is too much bland exposition, and too little use of nuance. Tools such as foreshadowing, and some believable stream-of-consciousness might have helped. I was disappointed, but I might try another Mankell (and another translator) just to see what that might be like.