Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

What exactly made me jump on the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo bandwagon, I'm not entirely sure.  People around me have been reading it for quite some time, but as you know I'm deathly afraid of anything popular. 
But something made me finally buy it (probably the trailors for the movie), and when I couldn't latch on to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I picked up Larsson's novel. 
Here are some things to keep in mind throughout the rest of the review.
FACT: The book is not well written.  Or at least not well translated into English.  I'll leave it at that.
FACT: I agree with THIS article that Larsson never figured out the "show, don't tell" part of novel writing. 
FACT: There are some pretty thin plot points. I've known some very religious people in my life, and I doubt that they would pick up that five sets of five digit numbers were references to bible verses.  It's messy…in quite a lot of places. 
FACT: Everyone knows that Mikael is a very thin veil for Stieg.  Which makes his animalistic attraction for women a bit weird and narcissistic.  That is unless Stiegl really does look like Daniel Craig - then it is understandable.  But he doesn't. 
I'm sure you know where this is going, right? 
There are many elements that make up a novel.  Plot, prose, character development, voice, etc.  I focus on prose…that's what I enjoy in reading.  So if a novel is lacking in prose, it better damn well be really strong in at least one of the other elements in order to distract me.  Otherwise, I just end up picking it apart piece by piece.
You are now expecting me, dear reader, to go on my usual diatribe against popular fiction.  But wait. Listen to this: this book held my attention so much that I once sat for four hours in one night – until after one in the morning – reading this book.  I could not put it down.  Do you remember the last time I did that?  Maybe never. 
I can't put my finger on exactly I became so engrossed in this novel.  I just wanted to know what was going to happen!  But one thing made the novel worthwhile: Lisbeth Salander.  Without her, I'm sure I would have detested this novel.  She was such a fabulous character that I immediately latched on to her…and what's so surprising about it is that she came out of a novel written by a male that is so obviously smitten with himself – it makes me wonder if Salander was all accident.    
I'm not sure when I'll pick up the other books in this series.  Maybe soon.  Maybe never.  I'd bet money that I'll read them before summer though.  It's just a hunch.


Shelly said...

I've read all the books in this series and posted them on my blog. At first it was a little slow at the beginning but farther into the book it bacame quite good. I'm not saying the writing was great but, I enjoyed it and the others.

Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction: read it on the double, realize it's actually kind of awful, decide not to read the rest.

Aleks said...

I will risk sounding unintellectual and say, you crack me up!

In other news, I made my over to Kindle and am rereading books by Saramago on it. The 12-book bundle was very easily sold to me for 16 bucks!

Russell Brooks said...

Even before the movie came out there's been a lot of buzz about this book and the others. My father is on book three presently and has encouraged me to read the series because he loves the writing style and the story development. I don't know what to expect, but it'll be on my 2012 TBR list because I'm very curious.