Scandinavian Names All Sound the Same to Nora Ephron


There are a number of things about Stieg Larsson's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books that drive Nora Ephron crazy, or so we deduce from her satire of the series in this week's New Yorker. Among the crazy-makers: Lisbeth Salander always being in a bad mood, never smiling, and thinking in declarative italics; Courier font; electronic devices being referred to by full brand name; Swedish streets being confusing and meaningless to non-Swedes; Swedish last names. The last one is a particular pet peeve. "People’s names were so confusingly similar," Ephron writes. "Gullberg, Sandberg, and Holmberg; Nieminen and Niedermann; and, worst of all, Jonasson, Mårtensson, Torkelsson, Fredriksson, Svensson, Johansson, Svantesson, Fransson, and Paulsson." This seems unfair. Popular Swedish last names are popular Swedish last names! You'd think the woman who directed Julie & Julia would understand. [NYer]