Review #2 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This book must be the most read book in airports over the last year. I’ve seen its distinctive yellow cover in more travelers’ hands than any other book I can remember. Which of course meant that I myself needed to read this on my own holiday travels! I had expected this novel to be along the lines of The Hunger Games trilogy, given that they are both trilogies, both have female protagonists, both have similar covers, both have movies coming out, and both are so ubiquitous. I was dead wrong, as this book is most certainly not a young adult novel, and could not be more different from the story and tone of The Hunger Games.

TGWTDT is a murder-mystery-thriller type book set wonderfully in Sweden. Mikael Blomvkist is a journalist and publisher of a fairly liberal magazine who was arrested and tried for libel. Following his trial he is hired by Martin Vanger to investigate the case of Vanger’s niece who had gone missing four decades before. Blomvkist reluctantly agrees to do so, under the guise of writing the family’s memoirs. He soon finds himself invested in solving the case, and works with Lisbeth Salander, a tiny, brilliant, misfit, to do so. To say anymore would ruin the story.

While I enjoyed this book thoroughly, and am excited to read the others in the series, the narrative was a bit slow in the beginning. Larsson is incredibly detailed in his telling of this story, and while the details are all interesting and kept me hooked, they took a while to unfold into the larger story and at times felt unnecessarily dense. The overall plotline is certainly fascinating, and the characters interesting. I was somewhat surprised to see that the ending unfolded in a bit of a generic and predictable way, yet I was still mostly satisfied.

I certainly am interested in seeing the Swedish and American movies, if only to see how different directors handle a story that has violence against women as its core. It is written with care, and in my opinion, takes a feminist approach towards these issues (understanding of the power that the male sex has), and I am curious to see how this translates to film.