One of the e-mails reveals disarming humility from Larsson on points his detractors have singled out:
"I am not altogether confident of my ability to put my thoughts into words: My texts are usually better after an editor has hacked away at them, and I am used to both editing and being edited. ... I think the first few chapters are a bit long-winded, and it's a while before the plot gets under way."Elsewhere he is less humble. "I have used some techniques that are normally outlawed," he writes, according to Laurie Thompson's translation from the Swedish. That sounds to me like a man a little too proud of what he thinks he's doing.
Some of that pride comes from Larsson's handling of gender roles.
"I have also deliberately changed the sex roles," he writes. "In many ways Blomkvist acts like a typical `bimbo,' while Lisbeth Salander has stereotypical `male' characteristics and values."Fair enough, if rather rough, elementary and schematic. Contrast Larsson with Megan Abbott, a better writer by orders of magnitude, talking about her novel Queenpin in a 2008 interview with Detectives Beyond Borders:
"The men are in there primarily to mediate the two women's relationship with each other, much as female characters function so often in classic noir triangles. Ultimately, though, the gender switch changed everything and nothing. On the one hand, it struck me how little difference it made; that mentor/protégé relationships are always about power and ambition, and this was no different. On the other hand, the particular complexities in relationships between women really interest me, as do the forms female power can take, forms that may be different from male power."© Peter Rozovsky 2010