What I’m Reading

The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, by Stieg Larrson, is a mystery novel set in Sweden.  Mystery novels are not my usual reading fare but occasionally I pick one up when I hear enough praise.  In this case I am glad I did.  I enjoyed the book very much and in spite of its gloomy settings and, lets face it, gruesome themes, I didn’t have any trouble staying with it.  The characters were interesting and the Swedish place names and cultural references gave it, for me anyway, a curious authenticity that it wouldn’t have had if it had been set in the States.  At times the plot shifts seemed a bit clumsy but, in most cases, the overall story managed to stay on track.The story manages to cram in high-tech cyberpunk hijinks, high-rolling big business maneuverings and the seamy side of 20th Century Swedish history into a modern story involving some of the odder, and in some cases down right creepy, characters of Swedish society.  Many of the best character relationships and plot twists take awhile to develop but it is definitely worth the wait.I liked the young, female, computer hacking character Salander. Apparently she will continue to play a big part in two follow-up novels (all three published posthumously by the way, which is an dramatic tale of it’s own) and I am looking forward to watching her character develop.  A movie of the book, in Swedish with subtitles, is now running in the art houses around town.  I think I am going to try to see it.

UPDATE (4/17):  I saw the movie today and it was a winner.  It stayed close to the storyline and the result was a knockout thriller with just enough gritty detail to lend a sense of authenticity to it all.  I loved the scenery and the mood perfectly matched my feeling from the book.  "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" was in Swedish w/subtitles but it didn’t detract much, if at all, from the storytelling.  Go see it and read the book first if you can. 

UPDATE 2 (4/20): In a fit of Stieg Larrson fever, I have now read the second book in the series, “The Girl Who Played with Fire.”  If anything it was better than the first book although it was a bit more chaotic and sometimes a little difficult to follow early on.  The character of Lizbeth Salander was more completely fleshed out and her heroic nature was solidified.  I can’t wait for the final book or, for that matter, the second movie. 

 

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