May 8, 2010

Salander’s final bow - An exclusive excerpt from The Globe and Mail

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

In an exclusive excerpt from the final novel in Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium Trilogy, Lisbeth Salander awakens from brain surgery while another woman stumbles, bleeding, through the woods

Salander was aware of the smell of almonds and ethanol. It felt as if she had alcohol in her mouth and she tried to swallow, but her tongue felt numb and paralyzed. She tried to open her eyes, but she could not. In the distance she heard a voice that seemed to be talking to her, but she could not understand the words. Then she heard the voice quite clearly.

“I think she’s coming around.”

She felt someone touch her forehead and tried to brush away the intrusive hand. At the same moment she felt intense pain in her left shoulder. She forced herself to relax.

“Can you hear me, Lisbeth?”

Go away.

“Can you open your eyes?”

Who was this fucking idiot harping on at her?

Finally she did open her eyes. At first she just saw strange lights, until a figure appeared in the centre of her field of vision. She tried to focus her gaze, but the figure kept slipping away. She felt as if she had a stupendous hangover, and the bed seemed to keep tilting backwards.

“Pnkllrs,” she said.

“Say that again?”

“ ’diot,” she said.

“That sounds good. Can you open your eyes again?”

She opened her eyes to narrow slits. She saw the face of a complete stranger and memorized every detail. A blond man with intense blue eyes and a tilted, angular face about a foot from hers.

“Hello. My name is Anders Jonasson. I’m a doctor. You’re in a hospital. You were injured and you’re waking up after an operation. Can you tell me your name?”

“Pshalandr,” Salander said.

“Good. Would you do me a favour and count to 10?”

“One, two, four … no … three, four, five, six...”

Then she passed out.

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