Thursday, December 9, 2010
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
From the back of the book:
At once a murder mystery, family saga, love story, and a tale of financial intrigue wrapped into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.
Harriet Vanger, 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 in to a vein of unfathomable inquity and astonishing corruption.
Sandwiches. That is what I remember after reading this book - all the sandwiches Lisbeth and Mikael ate. For some reason, they were described each time they were made and that stuck in my head as being unnecessary. Of course on the other hand, I kept thinking to myself, "Why was this series so popular?". I've only read the first book and though I enjoyed aspects of it, there was nothing to differentiate it from a Dan Brown or James Patterson book, in my opinion. I enjoy suspense thrillers for what they are - something light to whet my reading appetite (or at least that is what they are for me). And so, on one level I did enjoy reading Dragon - mainly when it came to figuring out who had "killed" Harriet - I found that mystery to be rather intriguing. Other than that, the book annoyed me with its portrayal of women: they all seemed to either fall in lust/love with Mikael, or were brutally raped, or were killed. Lisbeth was an exception for her ability to utilize her inner strength to push forward in spite of her extremely crappy circumstances, which I lauded her for (well, in my mind I did - like when she took revenge on her so-called advocate, Bjurman, who absolutely deserved worse than what she gave him considering what he had done to her and I'm sure countless other women). And though Lisbeth did fall under Mikael's bewitching spell, she didn't allow her feelings to muck up the investigation/her work. She saved Mikael's life (from Harriet's "killer") and found herself accepting the fact that having feelings for Mikael would not be the end of the world (of course until she realized that no matter what, Mikael would always remain emotionally and physically involved with his magazine partner, Erika).
Its weird writing about this book, because I read it ages ago and I wasn't even sure I wanted to review it. Looking back on the experience, I do recall staying up all night trying to finish the book in order to find out what happened to Harriet - so I must have enjoyed it somewhat. And yet, there is just something about the book that just does not sit well with me and maybe it is the portrayal of women, except that Lisbeth is pretty kick-ass, so that is hard to object to. Suffice it to say, I'm glad I did finally read this book, but I'm not sure it deserved all the hoopla it received. Of course, I have heard that the second book is the best, so perhaps that will be the one to change my mind about Larsson.
Until I decide to pick up The Girl Who Played With Fire, I will dive into Stephen King's latest book, Full Dark, No Stars.