Friday, December 30, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; Stieg Larsson



Author:  Stieg Larsson
Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Edition: trade
Source: Purchased
Setting: Sweden
Date Completed: 12/28/2011 
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes


After falling for a clever hoax, financial journalist, Mikael Blomkvist is convicted of libel. Not only does he face a three month prison sentence, but his career in jeopardy as well.  Soon after, Henrik Vanger, an elderly, semi-retired executive of a prominent Swedish company hires him to investigate the disappearance of his great niece Harriet, who disappeared 36 years earlier at the age of 14.  Initially, Henrik asks him to write about the history of the Vanger family, but is clear that Blomkvist's real purpose will be to solve this decades-old case.  Henrik has been obsessed with having this case solved before he dies.  There has been no trace of her in all these years and it's assumed she is dead. However, every year on his birthday, he receives a mysterious gift of a pressed flower, like the ones his great-niece used to give him.

As Blomkvist begins to dig into the Vanger history, he hires the smart, highly talented, Lisbeth Salander to help with the investigation. She looks like a punk-rocker, and she is both tough and brilliant, with a talent for computer hacking. She's also heavily-tattooed and antisocial. 

For me, this novel started off extremely slow first (150+ pages), and I couldn't understand what all the hype was about. The translation from Swedish wasn't always smooth either, and there are several subplots, but I was determined to finish it as we are planning to see the movie (today).  Once the story got off the ground,  it had me quickly turning the pages.  Each time one mystery seems solved, another one surfaces. The setting is Sweden, and the atmosphere always felt dark and cold -- perfect for this story. The character development, especially of the two main characters was fantastic.  Lisbeth was a fantastic character, even though she could be a downer at times. Blomkvist was the perfect compliment to her, in my opinion. I felt like I was inside their mind at times.

Those who haven't read this one yet, should be aware that there are a couple of disturbing incidents of rape and other abuse against women. The story is definitely graphic at times.  If you aren't too disturbed as you read, by the end of this novel, I believe most readers will be anxious to read the (2) books which follow: The Girl Who Plays With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Have you read this one? What did you think?

We saw the American version of the movie this afternoon, and we thought it was great.  The graphic, sexual violence made me cringe. Despite that it was a terrific movie.  I am now anxious to read books 2, and 3.

23 comments:

  1. I will be reading this one in 2012 for sure. My husband loved the foreign version of this movie so much that he doesn't want to watch the U.S. version!! I agree very violent and graphic but I will still read it!!

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  2. We saw the movie earlier this week and now I'm anxious to read the book. It sounds like the movie was pretty faithful to the book.

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  3. I really liked this series and agree you need to give the first book 100+ pages to get into it. I really liked the Swedish movies. The US version was ok for me, my husband loved it (he did not read the book or see the other film).

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  4. I read this and Lisbeth Salander became one of my favorite heroines ever. I agree she was a downer at times, but I couldn't help but think if any character has ever had reason to be disturbed, it was her. The graphic violence was disturbing to me also, but I didn't feel it was gratuitous...I felt as if Larsson used it to show us just how sick, heinous and twisted these villains were. I haven't read the 3rd book bc I know when I do, the story will be over :(

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  5. I didn't really think this was slow when I read it, but have heard that from a few friends as they have started thsi one. I agree that there is some graphic content. Maybe I will get to see the movie version at some point. My husband has read the first one,so this would be a good one to go on a date to see without kids.
    Happy New Year to you!

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  6. I really want to read this series someday. I'm just not sure when I'm going to get to it. But I really, really, really want to read it.

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  7. I loved this book, but would have probably put it down if someone hadn't of told me how slow the first part was. I can't wait for the movie, it looks really good (plus Daniel Craig).

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  8. Diane, I read this a while ago, and then saw the movie. I have the other two books on my shelf, waiting to be read. Your review is excellent!

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  9. I only read this one. I did start a second but dnf.

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  10. I got the whole set for Christmas 2010 but still haven't read them yet. I do want to see the film, but won't until I read the book, so I at least have some motivation now! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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  11. Great review because this is a very hard book to review! I totally agree with you about the beginning!

    Happy New Year!

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  12. I managed to get through this, but the violence was just too much for me. I couldn't read either of the others. But I will admit that the story was very compelling. Thanks for your great reviews in 2011, Diane, and Happy Reading in 2012!

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  13. I haven't read one book in this series but I should. I'm sure I will enjoy them.... maybe they are good travel books (while on vacation).

    Happy New Years!

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  14. I read this as a joint read aloud book with my husband, and while we liked it, it started off slow for us as well. I did end up seeing the Swedish movies, and have to say that they were extremely well done. I would totally recommend them, even if you have already seen the American version. Great review today!

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  15. I have had so many bloggers recommend this to me but still I resist reading it - I think as you mention it is the violence and scenes of rape that put me off what people inform me is otherwise a good book.

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  16. I've been cautious about this series of books just because of all the hype. That usually sets me up for disappointment. However, I think I really must read all three.

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  17. I adore Lisbeth! But the violence in this first book has got me really wary of reading the rest. The US movie was excellent I thought. Some diehards, however, refuse to see it in allegiance to the Swedish version.

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  18. I loved this one, I think it was my favorite of the series

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  19. I have this book but after hearing so many readers say it was so slow in the beginning, I put it aside. I do want to see the movie though so I think I should get the book out and just dig in! My daughter's friend has the foreign version of the movie and loves it. Great review!

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  20. I agree … it takes a while to get going. But then you meet Lisbeth and it gets so interesting.

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  21. I am excited to see the movie. I have seen all the three swedish version. Heard the new version is even better. Glad you read and liked this one. Like Lisbeth a lot.

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  22. I saw the Swedish version of the movie and liked it a lot. I'll probably wait for the US film to come out on DVD. As for the books, I have the box set but haven't read them yet.

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  23. I've been avoiding this one (I'm such a wimp), but am really curious to see what all the hype is about.

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