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The Girl Who…

I have read a fair amount of Scandinavian fiction over the past few years but it wasn’t until visiting Wallingford library that I was able to borrow a copy of Stieg Larsen’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first of his Millennium trilogy. It has been such a popular book that I have not previously found it on the library shelves. Such is it’s popularity that there are probably people who think Henning Mankell is some kind of fish pickle but who have snapped it up before me.

I finished it yesterday and, while it certainly wasn’t a bad book, I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. My impression was that it was clumsy at points, with overly prosaic descriptions of items of technology used. The heroes of the piece, Blomkvist and Salander, are prodigiously gifted; it is almost a superhero story than a tale of mere mortals. I had read a the first chapter or so as a Kindle preview but that dealt entirely with the financial thriller plot, which really is not my bag. The murder mystery, which takes up the greater proportion of the novel, is more familiar but ends several chapters before the end, giving space for a reprise of the earlier plot.

I suppose it is part of a trilogy and I will read the remaining two books if I find them in the library but I don’t think that, taken on it’s own, it stands as a tour-de-force. Perhaps appreciating the work in its entirety will convince me but I am not expecting more than a reasonably diverting read. Another recent book of Swedish origin, Midwinter Sacrifice by Mons Kallentoft, was a different matter but I will save that for another post. I am obviously not quite in touch with popular culture: perhaps not a great surprise!

  • I did the 1st one as a free audiobook and read the 2nd when it appeared on the communal bookshelf at work. I don’t see them as anything outstanding. I don’t read many general thrillers, but these had a bit of geeky content. Not as much as I’d like actually. I may read the 3rd some time just to see how it pans out. I agree with the superhero bit and Blomkvist seems to end up in bed with just about all the female cast. There’s another superhero in the 2nd book.

    I’ve not seen any of the films (in any language) yet.

  • Mo

    I have only read the first one. It did not encourage me to read the rest. It was ok but, like you, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I’m not really interested in seeing the film either, but I guess it will come round on the TV eventually and I might be tempted.

  • basswulf

    An interesting pair of replies although probably a biased sample. Thanks for responding though. What I’m waiting for now is to find someone who loved it and has also read some of the other works I would rate more highly.