What better way to spend a rainy raw night than in a room darkened by a paucity of lamplight and swelled to bursting with the sinister? When I was a kid I used to do this on Sunday mornings, watching re-runs from the night before of old dracula and werewolf black-and-white horror movies. Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney. Drawing the drapes in the TV room to simulate night, crawling under a blanket on the couch and letting the mood chill my spine.
Tonight we curled up on the couch in a darkened parlor to watch The Girl Who Played With Fire, number two in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. I'd seen it before but Pete hadn't and, since number three, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is in theaters now, there was a certain urgency to see this. Maybe this weekend — um, perhaps a birthday treat? — we can go see it on the big screen....
What a fabulous invention is Lizbeth Salander. An anti-hero to beat all others. I would love to know the genesis of this black-lipped, tatooed, cyber-savvy whisp of a man hater who, for all that, commands both empathy and the eye. And inspires in the reader/viewer the loyalty of Mikail Blomquist. Who was she to Larsson? Not pure invention, that's for sure. In part because his creation of her is so sure, so infinite in its variety, too precise for a work of sheer imaginings. Who was his model? Or perhaps models?
Add to the craftsmanship, the artistry of the character one brilliant actress. Noomi Rapace. She was, or would seem to be, to the role born. She inhabits it. Wears it like a leotard, revealing the lithe contours of her mind as well as of her body. Her imperfect skin, permanently pursed lips and bottomless brown eyes only make her all the more believable as Lizbeth, all the more riveting.
I can't wait to see Hornet's Nest. Yes, for the chill of it, of course. From the sinister opening music to the final triumph over the last of Lizbeth's three great male persecutors. But what will keep me glued in my seat, the butter congealing on my popcorn, is pen envy. Oh to create one indelible character of Lizbeth's complexity and originality, the likes of which first tasers the imagination into submission then puts a gun to the brain and demands, Remember me! As if anyone could forget her.
Truffle: Getting back to Bedlam. I know, I know. I said I'd finished the draft. But I also said I wanted to add a prologue and an epilogue. The prologue wrote itself this afternoon.
Quote of the day: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." (Dorothy Parker)