Sunday, September 13, 2009
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson (Millenium Series #1)
This is another of those books I felt compelled to read because I have been seeing it everywhere - along with its sequel, The Girl who Played with Fire. Larsson, an author from Sweden, died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2004. He left three unpublished manuscripts, meant to be a part of a 10 book series. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first. After the first 5 pages, I was not sure if I was going to be able to get into this one - but I stuck with it so I would have a chance at understanding the popularity. My friend Liz asked me this morning "when does it get good?" having reached page 5 and finding the writing hard to get into. While I was at a loss for words to explain what the book is about, suffice it to say, it gets good fast. The book circles around a number of different stories - Henrik Vanger, an aged wealthy investor lost his niece over 40 years ago. He is haunted by her disappearance and obsessed with discovering her murderer before he himself expires. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist, fresh off a conviction for libel against a wealthy and powerful businessman, is eager to disappear from society himself, and is hired by the eccentric Vanger to investigate the mystery. And finally Lisbeth Salanger, a ward of the court and a world-class hacker with a gothic exterior and the ability to find out the most personal information about the most private people, is hired to do her own investigation of Blomkvist. Set in Sweden, against the backdrop of a darkly misogynistic landscape, Larsson highlights the violence in society against women, sometimes in stark and gratuitous ways. The numerous characters in the novel were often difficult to keep track of - not just for the reader - but for Blomkvist in his investigation as well. But, there is love and intrigue, and a mystery filled with twists and turns. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo held my attention to say the least. My only disappointment is that Larsson did not live long enough to enjoy the success, or to write the remaining 7 installments.