Art/Culture/Literature Entertainment Opinion Readers

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo-A Book Review

 || Bhoomika Mohan

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first book of the Millennium series is a psychological thriller novel by Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, which became an international bestseller.

In December 2002, Mikael Blomkvist, publisher of the Swedish political magazine Millennium, loses a libel case involving allegations about a billionaire industrialist. Blomkvist is sentenced to three months in prison, and ordered to pay hefty damages and costs.

Soon afterwards, he is invited to meet Henrik Vanger, the retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation, unaware that Vanger has checked into his personal and professional history; the investigation of Blomkvist’s circumstances has been carried out by Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant but deeply troubled researcher and computer hacker.

Lisbeth is awesome and badass, no doubt there, but this book is so much more than just her story, and focusing solely on that undermines the message Stieg Larsson was sending.

Vanger promises to provide Blomkvist with evidence in return for discovering what happened to Vanger’s grandniece, Harriet, who disappeared in 1966 during a family gathering at the Vanger estate on Hedeby Island, when the island was temporarily cut off from the mainland by a traffic accident on the bridge.

Blomkvist moves to the island and begins to research the Vanger family history and Harriet’s disappearance. As he does so, he meets most of the remaining Vanger clan, including Harriet’s brother Martin, current CEO of the company; Isabella, Martin and Harriet’s mother; and Cecilia, a headmistress who was Harriet’s younger aunt and friend. Meanwhile, Salander’s legal guardian Holger Palmgrem suffers a stroke, and is replaced by Nils Bjurman, who uses his position to extort sexual acts from her and eventually rapes her.

After using a hidden camera to record her assault, Salander takes her revenge, torturing Bjurman and threatening to ruin him unless he gives her full control of her life and finances. She then uses a tattoo machine to brand him as a rapist.

Over the last forty years her disappearance has become Henrik’s obsession, and he’s positive someone in the family murdered her – but they never found a motive, and without one he doesn’t know who to suspect.

The translation seems elaborate, genuine, and faithful enough. The places or settings in the book are descriptive. The scenes are well lit. As for the plot, it’s quite intricate. Read it and find out! The characterization is not world class, but the author gives the impression that he could write purple  prose, if he wanted to.

Titles, like covers, that feature girls or women – or wives – are popular and sell well. This is an intriguing title, and doesn’t give away the genre. When this book first came out, the hardcover was marketed to a literary crowd. This is the mass market paperback edition, and with a quote from Harlan Coben on the cover.


 

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