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Femininjas: Women in fiction fight back

In Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millennium series—The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.—a disaffected teenaged rape survivor, Lisbeth Salander, kicks ass and takes names. Readers and critics hailed Larsson’s creation as groundbreaking. To pick just one representative case, Michiko Kakutani, in her review of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, calls Salander “one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while: . . . the vulnerable victim turned vigilante; a willfully antisocial girl.” One would think the critics had never seen a woman in pants before, let alone one who can hold her own against the patriarchy.

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