Wednesday, August 4

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first instalment of the Millennium Trilogy, by Stieg Larsson.

The captivating crime thriller focuses on how a murder from the mid-19th century brings together two parallel storylines. Mikael Blomkvist, once a reputable journalist, is duped into publishing slanderous material on a corporate hot-shot. He finds himself facing a jail sentence, a burning hole in his pocket and a ever tarnished reputation. Through a series of events he becomes involved in finding out about the disappearance of Harriet, a girl of the prestigious Vanger clan. He finds himself in too deep when he discovers a stark secret.

Lisbeth Salander is the anti-matter to Blomkvist. Portrayed as an unnerving, unpredictable and exciting character she balances and complements Blonkvist's calm yet bold personna. Her troubled and horrifying past draws sympathy from the reader despite her hate for mankind, in particular men. Despite somewhat resembling the chewed-up remains of a broken society, Lisbeth is a strength that epitomises Stieg Larsson's own childhood and experiences.

The story dwelves into two main themes: neo-nazism and and feminism in Sweden. This again is influenced by the author's upbringing, with the locations in the book being based on actual places in Sweden.

The Girl with the Dragon Tatto is a murder mystery that, in theory, is easy to coin up: throw in a murder, with heaps of complexities and plenty of potential suspects. Stieg Larsson surpasses expectations by not only developing the two protagonists' story but also creates a dark plot that Mikael and Lisbeth walk into. The entrawling novel takes the two characters on a journey that, perhaps, they would have avoided with hindsight.    


Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own family. He employs journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate.
When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.