November 23, 2009

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

For the first time ever, I finished a book after book club. Usually if I don't finish before I don't bother. But The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was an exception, even though I already knew how it ended.

It's a smart book, well written with good dialog. The main character Mikael Blomkvist is plausible and likable. There's a gripping plot with a murder mystery and a twisted serial killer. There's a mysterious violent background. There are politics and high tech and big business.

All the elements, in short, of a best seller.

There is also an intriguing aura of 'foreigness' that permeates the book, possibly due to the large quantities of coffee, extramarital sex and fish sandwiches enjoyed by most of the characters. I'm not saying there aren't Americans that drink a lot of coffee or cheat on their spouses or even both - but fish sandwiches? I don't think so.

The book is the first of a trilogy. I just ordered the second book.

Sadly, the author is dead, after stating he knew exactly which literary elements to include in a best seller and then writing said best seller.

That seems wrong to me.

20 comments:

  1. thanks for the recommendation I will have to check it out.

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  2. I've read all three books in Swedish... they're really very good (although I wonder a bit about the way he portrayed women)... Films of the first two books have been made and are great successes here in Sweden... Film nr. 3 - the conclusion - is in progress...

    He wrote a fourth book, which I doubt will ever be published, and it exists as a draft. Unfortunatley, Larsson's partner and his family don't see eye to eye and are fighting over his estate.

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  3. Thanks for recommending the book although I have so little time to read! That's kinda weird that the author is dead, was that part of a marketing scheme to ensure it would be a best seller?

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  4. That sounds interesting but fish sandwiches? Um, no. That's certainly not a common thing in Texas, maybe on the east coast?

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  5. Larsson's story is interesting. He was a "big name fan" in Science Fiction in Sweden, and the argument between his partner and estate is because his partner of 20+ years was not able to marry him because of certain Swedish tax consequences: she gets nothing from the estate. This book was just chosen by one of my book clubs and I am having conceptual problems with reading it, because although Larsson's real work was liberal, many of the reviews of these books that I have read have discussed the terrible and almost perverted "loving detail" the horrific violence against the women in these books is presented in, as well as the Bond-like female protagonist and her ability to overcome terrible abuse and become "super". What do you think?

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  6. I found the book hard to put down as well. I also loved the regional references and all the different Swedish institutions and people that I would know if I lived there.

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  7. G - I actually didn't consider it to be very graphic. Some awful things were mentioned in a matter of fact way but not really dwelt on or described in detail. A girl in my book club said it had one of the most violent rape scenes she'd ever read and I never figured out what she meant by that. And I wouldn't rate my own tolerance for violence as very high.

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  8. I haven't heard of it. I will need to check it out.

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  9. Is it a psychological thriller? Those are my favorite kind. Did you read the two by Chelsea Cain?

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  10. Huh. I thought you could get expelled for not finishing a book on time in a book club. Live and learn...

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  11. Sounds good to me! I will look it up at the library. Or might as well buy it, as I owe enough at the library to buy 13 copies of it, I am sure.

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  12. This sounds like a book I might be interested in...I might have to put a hold on it at the library!

    Thanks for stopping by! I love your blog!

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  13. Gotta love a trilogy! Makes it so much more fun. xoxo

    SC

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  14. I think I have this book! Will have to dig it out...

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  15. This book has received several good reviews. But yours tips me over the edge. It's on my books-to-buy list now.

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  16. I really enjoyed this book and picked up the second in the trilogy already, but sadly haven't had the time to read it just yet.
    Goodonya for finishing a book even after the book club.

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  17. I just finished this book, and like you, was not offended by the portrayal of women or the violence--it's a story. I've started the next one, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. After a couple of chapters, I can tell I will like this one also.

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  18. I have this audio book and wasn't able to get into it in that format. I need to get the book and give it another go. I've never heard a bad review of it.

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  19. A visiting friend left me the first in the series and I thoroughly enjoyed it- and had to get the second asap. And, have spent much of the last year waiting for the 3rd to be released in english. (It's out now!)

    Am in absolute awe of the skill of the translator. Can imagine it was no easy task conveying the atmosphere and tone of the story... although, of course I've no concept of how the original reads...

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