Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)

Hmmm. This was a mixed bag. The set up to this mystery did not draw me in at all, and I had to struggle--tried to read it a couple of times, and finally resorted to audio. I do not usually bother but I did in this case because there was so much hype on this title. The problem is the writing, I'm afraid, though it did occur to me that perhaps it was the translation. The second book in the series, The Girl who Played with Fire, was so much more fluent that I still wonder how the first could have gotten past the editors.

Larsson develops some unusual and interesting characters, though [strike me dead if I lie] Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and ostensibly the main character despite the "Girl" of the title, is way too good to live. He's the greatest lover who ever lived, can talk a snail out of her shell, and has no known faults.

The book only begins to pull its own weight after 150 pages, but the mystery itself still suffers from hydra-headedness. The first mystery, so dry and hard to understand in the set-up is dropped in favor of an even less plausible one. I am a generous sort, however, and am willing to suspend disbelief. It's undoubtedly a good thing not all of us are technowizards so we can take the author's word on computer theft and what is possible. So, okay, we've worked up a head of steam on this search for a missing person, and Lo! [again, beat me livid if I lie] we get pages of really despicable descriptions of violence against women. Very descriptive, very grotesque, very unnecessary.

So okay, after that has us wondering if we really needed to read this, Larsson goes back to his orginal mystery, which is financial reporting and economic theft. Hmmm. Don't let the this book stop you from enjoying the second in the series, however. There is violence in The Girl who Played with Fire, but mercifully, it is directed at a bad man, and doesn't seem nearly as horrid as what we were treated to in Dragon Tattoo.


  1. The problem was the editor, don't blame me. And of course Stieg got better as he went along. But please don't go blaming translators unless you can read both languages and back up your claims. There are many people involved in publishing a book, and you know what too many cooks do...

  2. Thanks, Reg. You sorted the question I had on this. Sorry if I cast aspersions.