Sunday 26 April 2009

The Girl With a Dragon Tatoo by Steig Larsson

I'm not much into the conspiracy theories. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe Marilyn had few too many drinks and pills and just wasn't all that happy. But I am not convinced that Steig Larsson is really dead.

Larsson is the author of The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. This book is the first in a trilogy which Larsson delivered to his publisher and then promptly died "under suspicious circumstances". I knew this before I started reading the book and didn't really give it a second thought.

And then I read the book and now I am convinced it is all a conspiracy. Because the book makes you think everything is a conspiracy.

A journalist has been convicted of libel and forced to resign his position as editor of his own magazine. The patriarch of a wealthy family brings him in to find a family member who mysteriously disappeared 40 years ago. A young, troubled beautiful goth is going to help solve the mystery.

To say anymore would spoil the wonderful suspense.

Set in Sweden, the novel is chocker full of Scandanavian details. Mikael Blomqvist is the hero and an immensely likable character but he's not perfect. Lisbeth Salander is quite simply one of my favourite fictional characters I've ever discovered.

Whilst I saw some twists coming, the ending will shock and awe you. The writing pulls you along at a Grisham pace and the translation is very well done. Don't concern yourself too much with the Swedish place names; it doesn't really matter and has no material outcome to the story. Also, don't be frightened off by the size of the book. You read it so quickly you forget how long it is.

I had to keep track of all the characters being introduced on a separate sheet of paper particularly in the first several chapters. It is a big family and there is a lot going on.

So I am hoping that Larsson couldn't possibly be dead. He delivered these 3 perfectly formed novels (his first) and then disappeared off the face of the earth. Don't tell me I've only got 3 books of his to read. I don't believe it. Not for 1 second.

The second book has been published but only in hardback. Bring on the paperback!

Book Group Verdict: This was the first of one of two choices by my Waterstone's book group which just started last month. This is a serious(ish) book group. We talked about the books and everyone reads at least one of the books. The people who read this selection agreed that the first 100 pages or so jump around a bit and is a bit difficult to follow. Most agreed it was a fabulous start to the trilogy. Only one person didn't enjoy it but I couldn't quite understand her reasons.

No comments: