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!