Friday, January 6, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

  So I finally got around to reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I'm very sorry it took me so long because I could not put it down.  Just in case I'm not the last person in the world to read this novel, here's a brief introduction:

   Mikael, a middle-aged Swedish journalist is hired by a wealthy elderly man, Henrik Vanger, to solve a 40 year-old crime.  Vanger's beloved niece, Harriet, disappeared in 1966 at the age of 16 and the case went cold soon after.  Vanger is convinced that Harriet was murdered by someone in the family and he hires Mikael as a last attempt to find out what really happened to his niece.  After a few months of research Mikael has made a little progress but realizes that he needs additional help.  So he teams up with Lisbeth Salander who is a young, introverted, antisocial girl who just happens to be a bit of a genius.  Lisbeth may come across as an unstable person with some pretty deep-seated issues, but Mikael is impressed by her investigative skills so together they form an unlikely friendship and delve deeper into the case of Harriet Vanger than anyone has before.

   I was very impressed with this book and I definitely plan on reading the other novels in the Millennium Trilogy, but you should probably know (if you don't already) that this book deals with sexual violence at its extreme and contains intense, graphic imagery.  Sexual crimes against women are extremely prevalent but too often overlooked as both urgent legal and social matters, and Larsson's book painfully spotlights what no one wants to talk about.  That being said, it is difficult to read at times.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is fast-paced, well-written, and expertly translated by Reg Keeland.  It's also very intense and unpredictable, and if you haven't read this novel yet, I would highly recommend it.

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