Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guest Blog - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A friend recommended The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He was the one who introduced me to Donna Leon so I listen when he sends a note suggesting a book. In no time at all I was caught up in the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist who is being sued for libel. When the judgment comes and he is sentenced to some jail time, he decides it is time to distance himself from the small journal that he has been publishing. Wealthy Henrik Vanger has a temporary job for the investigative reporter. He wants Blomkvist to look into the death of his granddaughter Harriet forty years earlier.

The characterization is excellent and I had no trouble avoiding real life and being swallowed up by the novel. I casually mentioned to a friend that I had started reading Stieg Larsson's book and was enjoying it. As I got further into the book, however, I sent an email to her telling her that I didn't think she would enjoy the book. The sex and violence in the book is not described in detail, however, most of my circle of friends are on the conservative side. There are no titillating sexual descriptions, however, I soon realized that this was not a book that I would be recommending to anyone for her book club.

The girl with the dragon tattoo is a brilliant researcher who eventually comes to work with Blomkvist. Lisbeth Salander has a dark past and an even darker present.

The entire book centers around the victimization of women. Not one of my preferred topics. As the mystery unfolds you discover that the some of women are sexually abused not only be strangers but by the men in their lives whom they should be able to trust. As Blomkvist continues his investigation, he finds that Harriet's disappearance seems to be linked to a series of violent murders in the past.

I enjoyed the peek into Swedish culture. From all that I have heard from people who have lived in Sweden, casual sex is an accepted lifestyle as is homosexuality. Reading this book, I discovered that I am a very old fashioned woman. If you are too, this mystery is probably not one that you will enjoy. However, Larsson had a very short writing career. He died in 2004 from heart failure and his books were published posthumously. Despite the grim topic, I am looking forward to reading his other two novels. Hopefully these books about Salander are not about the victimization of women or children.

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