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September 13, 2010

Reading Update: Women's Wrongs by Women and Women's Wrongs by Men

Suzy McKee Charnas The Furies

Stieg Larsson The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Furies is the third in the Holdfast Chronicles. Pretty awesome. Written about twenty years after the first two, it adds even more complications to the already complicated political landscape of this all-female world. She's also set things up for the fourth and final book, in which men are presumably no longer to be treated like aliens. Can't wait.

The irony of the Stieg Larsson series, which is about a woman who becomes an avenging fury herself against men who exploit and abuse women, is that she's called a "girl" in the title, although she's 24 when the series starts. Argh! Larsson's rather profound limitations come out in spades in the second book. He's fascinated with the older man/younger woman structure, and we get to see three sets of these now. He also can't imagine a more subtle misogyny than men who always think of women as "cunts" and "whores." So the heroism on behalf of abused women rings false. We also never get to meet any of these degraded and abused women, except for Salander herself, who has always fought back. Annoying.

But the series is still addictive, and I'm about to embark on the third one.

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