Pippi Longstocking and Lisbeth Salander, Girls With Dragon Tattoo


As American fans of the best-selling Swedish crime novelist Stieg Larsson await the release on Tuesday of the third book in his Millennium trilogy, they might want to catch up on the bloodline of his fiercely unconventional and darkly kooky antiheroine — the girl with the dragon tattoo, the girl who played with fire and the girl who kicked the hornet’s nest.

They need only read the tales of Pippi Longstocking — the fiercely independent and cheerfully kooky 9-year-old who has been a soul mate to generations of children longing to color outside the lines.

An old colleague of Mr. Larsson’s has said they once talked about how certain characters from children’s books would manage and behave if they were older. Mr. Larsson especially liked the idea of a grown-up Pippi, a dysfunctional girl, probably with attention deficit disorder, who would have had a hard time finding a place in society but would nonetheless take a firm hand in directing her own destiny. That musing led to the creation of Lisbeth Salander, the central character in Mr. Larsson’s trilogy. So how does Lisbeth compare to Pippi, the creation of the earlier Swedish author Astrid Lindgren?