Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Book Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor) by Stieg Larsson
Category: Crime fiction
Synopsis: Mikael Blomkvist is a financial reporter who has been sentenced to prison for slander. He decides to take some time off from his job as editor of the magazine Millennium. He is offered a job by the wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger who wants him to write the history of the Vanger family. This however turns out to simply be a cover story for the real digging Vagner wants him to do. Vagner wants him to find out what happened to his niece Harriet, who disappeared any years previously. Blomkvist is later joined by Lisbeth Salander, a young girl with problems, but a knack for finding out information.
My Thoughts: I read this book quite quickly. It was okay. I didn’t like the view of Sweden it presented. No single character acted in a way in which I thought was moral. I am so sick and tired of Sweden being portrayed as a country where pretty much everyone has loose sexual morals (I believe that what goes on between two consenting adults is their business but all this sleeping around that goes on is such a sterotype and it drives me insane). In addition, although I am well aware of the abuses that happen in society I found the portrayals in this book to be deeply deeply disturbing and somewhat unnecessary.
That aside, my actual objection to this book is the fact that to me there was nothing new. I won’t portray myself as an expert on Swedish Crime fiction but there was nothing new here. Several other Swedish authors use the format of plucky newspaper reporter uncovers horrible corruption in the financial world. Throw in some corrupt government officials (or officials in general) and you have a fairly standard Swedish Crime novel. There was nothing really new in this book. I fail to see why this has become the international best seller.
I do wonder about the translation, Kalle Blomkvist is a literary figure most Swedes would know and know the symbolism that he carries. To those who have read translated versions, does the translation explain this cultural reference? To me, and to most Swede's Kalle Blomkvist conjures up certain images, images that I think contribute to my feeling of this not being anything new. I wonder if others get the same feeling?
The reason I ended up being up late finishing this book was because I wanted to finish the book so that I could get on with purging some rather disturbing scenes from my mind.
Apparently I am not the only one who is confused as to why this book is so great. Jackie from Farm Lane Books posted her thoughts as well while I was reading it.
I have yet to decide if I will read the other two books in the series. Since I can get them from the library I just might. I don't mean to sound all negative, I did finish the book after all but it just did not leave me wanting to re-read it.
One positive note was the characterisation of Lisbeth. I did find her to be a character I wanted to know more about, which is why I am considering reading the other books in the series.