By its end, the book is a vengeful battle cry. In one particularly incredible scene, Gabrielsson exorcises her grief and fury by performing a pagan ritual, complete with a torch and a goat's head on a spike, in which she recites a poem to the Norse gods, cursing all those who crossed Larsson in life and in death. In another, she speaks to a crow she believes has been sent to her by the god Odin and which she thinks may be an embodiment of Larsson himself. She wraps up the book by swearing not only to continue her fight for the legal right to make decisions pertaining to the ways Larsson's works and name are used and distributed, but to take revenge upon those who have wronged Larsson and herself. The phrase "a woman scorned" came to mind again and again as I read: Gabrielsson's rage is Dido-like in both its determination and its mythological breadth. Whether this is the mild eccentricity of a grieving woman with a thing for Nordic myths or a sign that she's going around the bend remains to be seen.
A final and more intriguing option, though, is that Gabrielsson is a much savvier marketer than she might admit. By so skillfully portraying the novels as the outgrowth of a life that was as much hers as it was Larsson's, she has written the perfect resume for herself: If Eva Gabrielsson practically is Stieg Larsson, who better to take up the disputed laptop and not only finish the fourth volume but write further volumes, too? And not only is she Stieg, but—wronged by an unjust, patriarchal society—she is Salander. Fans can now root for Gabrielsson, too, just as we have for Larsson's heroine.
If she ever triumphs and gets the legal authority she is seeking, who knows: Gabrielsson just may rise like an avenging angel from the ashes of Larsson's death and pay back our loyalty with the ultimate reward: More Salander, more Millennium, more Stieg Larsson novels.
TODAY IN SLATE
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