*All book reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*
“18% of the women in Sweden have at one time been threatened by a man.”
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo contains many stories, as far as books go, but perhaps at its core, it tells the tale of the horrors of women in the Sweden of Larsson’s narrative. And so the book begins, with a new statistic introducing each of the four parts it is split into.
The story is told through the eyes of Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced journalist, who is hired to solve the mysterious events from nearly half a century ago – the disappearance of Harriet Vanger. Blomkvist has a singular motive – to restore his credibility and that of his publication, Millennium - and confining himself to an island and uncovering the truth from 46 years ago seems the way to achieve it. Surprisingly, the girl in 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' – Lisbeth Salander, enters the main conflict of the plot much later in the story.
I presumed this book to be a Swedish version of James Bond meets The Transporter. You know the type – long action sequences, a deep mystery, with a romance sub-plot. This genre of story elicits a similar reaction in me as an STD would – pain and I would like to avoid it, thank you very much. And if truth be told, while The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remains true to my primary assumption of it, it is, in fact, a pleasant exception to the genre.
It has a clear, albeit weak premise with a slow build but once we cover two-thirds of the story, it picks up pace. I read the last 300 pages of it in one sitting. And so while the book is on the longer side, it is easy to read.
My sole complaint remains with the characters, which all fall flat or into clichéd tropes. But despite it all, they remain likeable enough that one keeps rooting for them. And perhaps that is why I am glad that my friend gifted it to me. Thank you for a good read.
P.S: I would recommend this book with a trigger warning for explicit rape.