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Search tags: The-Girl-with-the-Dragon-Tattoo
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review 2018-12-24 18:36
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

Read: April 2011

 

Enter, the recently disgraced financial journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, who has just been convicted of libeling a heavyweight financier, Hans-Erik Wennerström, and faces a hefty sum and three months in the slammers at Rullåker. His rapidly deteriorating career begins to turn around when he is approached by the prominent industrialist Henrik of Vanger Industries as one last resort to unravel the mystery surrounding his great niece's, Harriet Vanger, disappearance over forty years ago. In return, Vanger will provide Blomkvist with damaging information against Wennerström.

Blomkvist agrees, albeit reluctantly. For one year he'll be on Hedby Island while he goes about the business of the investigation, and scrutinizing the alibis of those of the Vanger clan that was on the island on the day Harriet had gone missing, as Henrik is convinced that one or more amongst his family is responsible.

He goes under the cover story of ghostwriting the Vanger family chronicle. He's aided by the title character Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo. Salander is a social ward of the state, she's antisocial, has no urge what so ever to submit willingly to authority and is covered with an assortment of tattoos along with piercings to complete the gothic ensemble. With her curious skillset, she prefers to dish out her own brand of justice and revenge onto those ruthless abusers that fall on her radar, all of whom she despises with a passion to be reckoned with.

Together they delve into the depths of the Vanger family's past until they find themselves very close to cracking this mystery open when the threats begin. Despite the looming danger, they proceed to finally discover the events that lead to Harriet Vanger's disappearance and possibly her death.

When I'd first picked up The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo I didn't know what really to expect, I mean I've read the blurb but the genre of crime fiction is relatively new to me. In the beginning, where it was elaborated how Blomkvist had landed himself in this spot was confusing to me mainly because of all of this financial mumbo-jumbo, so most likely readers savvy in this field are more comfortable here but I believe I got the gist of the situation after reading certain parts till my head hurt and finally putting in down for a short while before resuming.

The characters, on the most part, are believable and were three dimensional. Now I'll zoom in a bit on Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth is a truly intriguing personality; she's distant and wants little to do with anyone else unless she really has to. Her general behaviour and intense dislike to abusers leads me to believe that she had suffered at the hands of one herself in her past. She won't take nonsense lying down and her survivor's spirit is one of the reasons why I admire her.

We learn of certain family members' involvement with the Nazis during the Second WW and a little about Henrik Vanger's stay in wartime Germany. I thought this particularly interesting because I'm partial to even fictional accounts during that time in history.
This book is surprisingly violent, with certain parts that had thrown me a little off balance but I had the feeling I'd better get used to it. I should have taken a hint to the snippets of statistics of abuse of women in Sweden because it's of the themes later identified.

The fact that I had to put down and pick it up again numerous times before I got around page 270 to really get hooked, is the reason why I gave this book 4 stars. I know that lots of books start off by stretching and yawning before they finally pick up substantial speed but for me, 200 and something pages are too much.

Overall The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo is a book truly worth reading and frankly if someone had told me it happened, I would stare in utter fascination and horror but I might eventually believe him because the plot is believable. Who knows what dark secrets those huge empires quietly sweep under the carpet? How many women had suffered such unimaginably gruesome torture, with their screams that go unheard? This just makes me wonder.

 

All that said, it's not for everyone. If you don't like reading about grisly murders and violence in general, and intricate plots you can pass on this one.

 

*Crossposted from Goodreads.

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review 2018-07-20 20:34
Shades of Nordic Noir
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

The books comprising the ‘Millennium Trilogy’ have achieved, albeit posthumously, almost legendary status for Stieg Larsson. Having previously delivered the manuscripts to his Swedish publisher, tragically the author died of a heart attack in 2004, aged just 50 and consequently he never witnessed the international plaudits, which were eventually to greet this exceptional work. I read the series a number of years ago, but I wanted to revisit them before reviewing and I was curious to see if my original impressions remained. Clearly, international sales of the books, reported to be of the order of 80 million copies worldwide, is quite a phenomenon. But what is it that continues to strike such a chord with the readers of popular crime fiction?


Powerful yet shocking, violent yet touching, this novel is at its heart a thriller, which contrasts the most depraved, base examples of humanity with the most outwardly unassuming characters. Yet, in investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and security analyst Lisbeth Salander, Larsson has created main characters who are clearly flawed, but retain a complexity and depth, which is truly absorbing, thrown together as they are, to combat low points in their respective lives and the situational challenges that follow.


At the opening of the book, Blomkvist has just been found guilty of libel against financier, Hans-Erik Wennerstrȍm and is faced with three months in prison as well as a sizeable fine. Salander, a very different kind of investigator, is commissioned by her sometime employer to generate a report on Blomkvist and is intrigued that for such a careful reporter, he appears not to have contested the case. The author cleverly uses the report to inform the reader about Blomkvist and the thoughts of Salander’s boss at Milton Security (CEO, Dragan Armansky) to sketch out an early impression of her. Both are mavericks, with quite contrasting personalities, but as the plot unfolds they are bound inextricably together. Salander has experienced a troubled young life and might be considered a victim, but for her capacity for violent retribution. Brilliant, but emotionally cold, Salander lacks the capacity for empathy, but is drawn towards Blomkvist’s open warmth, humour and laid back attitude. What they share is an insatiable appetite for answers and the need for justice to be served, though Salander is quite bemused by Blomkvist’s attachment to the rule of law.


The ‘Millennium’ of the title is a magazine and Blomkvist’s enforced sabbatical enables him to take up a freelance assignment, for ex-industrialist Henrik Vanger. Ostensibly tasked with writing a biography of the Vanger family, Henrik though is obsessed with identifying the murderer of his great niece and favourite (Harriet Vanger) and persuades Blomkvist to mount an investigation for which he is prepared to pay handsomely and on completion, the prospect of some useful information about Blomkvist’s nemesis - Wennerstrȍm. The investigation centre’s on events which took place forty years earlier on the island of Hedestad, owned by the Vanger family and where generations continue to live in splendid isolation. In that sense there are echoes of an Agatha Christie whodunit, with a limited cast of suspects, but getting to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ is deliciously convoluted. Moreover, the nature of the comeuppance doled out to a series of villains is supremely satisfying.


Curiously this first book in the trilogy introduces the key protagonists and can stand alone as a novel, with a discrete storyline. Books 2 and 3 feels like a further, longer story, dissected into two just to make the volumes manageable, but developing the characters in all their dysfunctional glory. In any event, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ remains a ground-breaking book, which helped herald the contemporary genre of Nordic noir and propel it into the spotlight of popular literary culture. For me, it is understandably vaunted as a ‘modern classic’, not to everyone’s taste, but quite a ride.

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review 2018-02-08 08:00
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -

Seldom has a book been hyped to the extend as the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I can not say I have been unaffected by this, since I went and bought the books. The first one, The Girls with the Dragon Tattoo was my favourite because of the closed room mystery which was presented. I have a soft spot for those.

It actually took me some time to figure it all out, especially due to quite some red herrings, but the interactions between the two main characters made the wait worth it. Lisbeth is of course the real main character of the series and has become a prototype for the strong female protagonist.

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review 2017-06-05 02:28
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

Series: Millennium #1

 

I’m not sure how to describe this book. It was mystery and a thriller and I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, but I still had fun with it. I know I complained about it at about the 80% mark but it did finish off with a more upbeat resolution so I think I can confidently assert that I liked the book even though I didn’t like everything about it.

I did quite like the fact that it turned out that it was Harriet who kept sending Henrik Vanger pressed flowers on his birthday and not her killer. I still don’t feel like rating it higher because of the cat, however.

(spoiler show)

 

Anyway, I’m more enthusiastic about reading the rest of the series now, so I’ll probably be picking up the next one eventually.

 

I read this for booklikes-opoly Paradise Pier #30 “Read a book with a twist or that is tagged as ‘suspense’ on GR, or that has more than 555 pages”. It meets the first two criteria, although I think some paperback editions were printed with more than 555 pages. I’m counting it as 480 pages though, so I’m adding another $5 to my bank balance, bringing the total to $109. I feel like I’m getting behind.

 

Previous updates:

85%

80%

26%

25%

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text 2017-06-04 22:42
Reading progress: I've read 85%.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

I'm pretty sure this counts as a twist for the booklikes-opoly square. 

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