Yikes! The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is only the first book I’ve finished reading in more than a year. But I guess the long abstinence is all worth it. I chose this book to read first because it’s the one I’m most curious about. And man, curiosity satisfied. The hype and popularity of this book transcends the legacy of its late author Stieg Larsson.
Before anything else I’d like to special mention the author Mr. Larsson whose life and works intrigued me the more than his Millenium Trilogy (Dragon Tattoo is the first of three in the series) since 2009. One night when he was just fifteen years old he witnessed a gruesome crime that would forever change his life – he saw a girl gang-raped and he was unable to help her. That event wounded and scarred his soul and his wife later told Stieg Larsson never really able to forgive himself. Since then he become an active member of the left-wing parties in Sweden and a journalist fighting for justice until his very last breathe. His only sense of redemption came when he started writing novels that reflects the decay of human condition and its society. He died in 2004 of a heart attack. In his laptop they found three unpublished manuscripts, that would later become his greatest legacy . Stieg Larsson never saw his books embraced world-wide as a staggering international bestseller.
So as a quick and honest answer for that immortal question.. Was the book a good one? YES, THIS IS A GREAT BOOK! AND IT REALLY WORTH WHATEVEER THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR IT. (Mine was free, I just downloaded it)
There is actually two sides of the story which also made the book having two climaxes. One is the mysterious disappearance of an industrial heiress named Harriet Vanger – 40 years earlier. We call that part by virtue of its irresistible and intriguing nature of the mysetery: WTF happned to Harriet Vanger? The guy who was tasked to solve this seemingly improbable case is the journalist Mikael Blomqvist (pronounced as Mi-Kael Blum-Kwist, Daniel Craig was a perfect casting) who was recently convicted of libel against a crook industrial tycoon. Blomqvist’s personal vendeatta against that corrupt tycoon serves as the second soul of the book – we call it the Wennerstrom Affair – it’s the not so interesting part of the novel.
To solve the mystery Mr. Craig, I mean Mr. Blomqvist must enlist the gifted hacker Lisbeth Salander a.k.a the girl with the dragon tattoo as his personal researcher. Yeah she has that tattoo on her back, a lot of piercings on her face, funk metal hair, with black leather suit and tights for fashion and a motorsiklo for transport – in other short Bad-Ass. Lisbeth Salander is actually not the central or the main character of the story because she’s just Mikael’s… sidekick (the original title is actually translated as Men Who Hates Women.. those marketing nerds! If I am the publisher the title would be WTF Happned to Harriet Vanger?) But seriously, Lisbeth Salander is the most interesting character in the book, case in point: she has world-class hacking skills and a photographic memory, a dark past, a troubled upbringing and a social outcast with an eerie sense of violence. She’s simply a very complicated character paired with an equally complicated brilliant journalist with a helluva case to solve. That really makes a good story.
What was the story feels like that makes the novel so great? First, there will be sexual violence. It’s a necessary element of the story and Stieg Larsson really hits the right tone and the right words to convey such delicate issues into a clever and feel-bad narrative and get’s away in a very positive mode. Second, it’s a dark mystery filled with dark and unspeakable family secrets, corruption in the highest level in the corporate world, and difficult compromises each of the characters have to face that forced make difficult decisions. Third, the story evolved into a poignant love story in the unlikely pair of Salander and Blomqvist, at least their relationship makes the book compelling.
What are the negative sides of the story? Ahm the book is quite long, I had a hard time reading it on my Pavillion Notebook, took me a couple of weeks to finish while balancing work and sleeping . Larsson is also no Rowling, it’s still his debut novel and I wonder if he ever thought of publishing the book, so you can’t expect flawless literary writing. And the Wennerstrom Affair as the secondary climax was the boring part of the book that practically made the book thicker than it should be.
The Verdict. A must read book for adults. You’ll still be enthralled with the story long after you finished reading. Powerful story in an unassuming story telling style. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Be sure to come back for my movie review of the 2011 remake directed by David Fincher of the same title The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, By: Stieg Larsson (trans Reg Keeland) (avidmysteryreader.com)
- Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (blogcritics.org)
- The Girl who read the Millennium trilogy in a week (thirtysomethingquips.wordpress.com)
- Will you see ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’? [poll] (latimesblogs.latimes.com)