Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I finally had to figure out what all the hype was about with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson. From the cover:

"Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into a complex and atmospheric novel.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of iniquity and corruption."

I've heard two schools of thought on this novel, love it or hate it. I'm not exactly sure why. While it does deal with some convoluted financial subjects, often cited by those who don't care for the book, I had no problems following or enjoying the story. Perhaps another issue with the novel could be the translation from Swedish. While some of the translation can be a little odd and the names of locations can be downright scary, this too was never a major hurdle for me in my reading. Overall I found the writing quite accessible and I have to scratch my head a little when I hear someone say the book was a "hard read."

I enjoyed the plot of the book, or rather plots, as there are a couple of storylines going on at the same time, mostly a murder mystery and a financial intrigue story. What endeared me to the novel more than anything was the characters, especially Salander, the tough as nails, quiet computer hacker. I really wished the book had delved deeper into her past, which hinted at being fairly traumatic. I guess now I'll have to read the next book in the series to find some answers.

Overall a great read that kept me interested throughout. I felt the pacing of the book was the strongest during the first half and the book did drag on a little longer than I thought it should have, clocking in at just around 600 pages. Other than these minor quibbles, I recommend this novel and I look forward to reading "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest."

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