Saturday, March 27, 2010

Billy's Pan Pizza

If you've read Stieg Larsson's second thriller The Girl Who Played With Fire, you'll recognize the amazing character Lisbeth Salander's favorite food: Billy's Pan Pizza. In her millionaire's apartment, purchased with money she obtained in the course of the first thriller, she has a dream kitchen with "a shiny French gourmet stove with a gas oven as the focus" and a Jura espresso machine, "the espresso equivalent of a Rolls-Royce." But Salander shops at 7-Eleven and other convenience stores and she eats only ready-to-microwave food or ready-made cheese sandwiches while chasing nearly superhuman public enemies and working for truth and justice. When she has time, she makes coffee. Otherwise, a few gulps of water from the tap keep her going. And going.

Living on odd bits of instant food, of course, is only one of Salander's amazing capabilities. She's a mathematical genius (including her achievement of the utterly improbable discovery of Fermat's own solution to the famous theorem). She has a photographic memory. She can hack into any computer on the planet. She's brave and honest and agile, out smarts the wiliest criminals, and wins hand-to-hand fights with men several times her size. But the fact that she eats a nerd's diet is indicative of how the late, great Larsson put together his portrayal of this remarkable character.

PS -- It's a good read. Both of the books are. But I'm suspicious of the mathematical elements of the second book.


Unknown said...

So, Mae, have you read the 3rd book yet? I'm so starved for more Lisbeth Salander that I'm re-reading Girl Who Played With Fire 2 weeks before Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest comes out in the U.S.

I just decided to check out Billy's Pan Pizza - looks just as I expected it to, frankly.

Both Salander and Kalle Fucking Blomkvist (I love that!) are great characters. I'm sure after I finish the 3rd book, I'll be dieing for someone to pick up Larsson's notes and do a 4th and more.

Unknown said...

A year late and a dollar short, lol. Would have sent e-mail but couldn't find one. Re Lizbeth and Fermat: Fermat's most excellent "elegant" solution is one which has been "discovered" and "re-discovered" a good handful of times AND just happens to be wrong. But this solution is considered quite novel and most believe it to be the one that Fermat thought correct. In fact, it was initially thought to be correct by most mathematicians. But it fails in proof. The proof of Fermat's Enigma (the title of an excellent book on the subject, btw) took one man working on it darn near full time for a decade...and forms of mathematics that Fermat would never have known about. Salander couldn't do the second by any chance but, as the character is described, the first and erroneous solution would be well within her grasp.