I received the book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson a few weeks ago and am about halfway through it. If you wonder, “why would I enjoy a book by a Swedish author that has a silly title?”, you’re not alone. I wondered the same thing.
There is one incontrovertible fact about Swedish people–they are all good looking (and some are now single and rich!). But do I really want to widdle away hours with a Swedish novel that contains no pictures of actual Swedish people?
At the halfway point, I would say most definitely “yes”.
I remember seeing these Stieg Larsson books on the bestseller lists early in the summer. At the time, his books occupied three of the top ten bestseller spots and they all had peculiar names that really didn’t make me want to read them.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?
However, this is not the intended name of the book. The real title of the book, if you do the literal Swedish translation of the title (which you can do if you are Swedish/English bilingual or know how to check this Wiki page) is “Men who hate women”.
This title makes more sense as I read the book and see quotes at the beginning of each chapter like, “Eighteen percent of the women in Sweden have at one time been threatened by a man.” These quotes fit the original title much more than the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo title.
But the book is not about misogyny, nor is it about dragons. It is a crime novel and, thus far, it is a gripping one at that. In fact, it was awarded the “best Nordic crime novel in 2005”. And believe you me, the competition for the best Nordic crime novel must be fierce. The two competitors were The Tall Blonde Who Couldn’t Find Her Coffee Cup and How Ingegard and Torkel Lost Their Looks and Their Love.
I would like to tell you what the book is about so far but I can’t. One, I don’t want to spoil it for you and, two, I am not really sure what it is about. I will tell you three things: There is an author who is keeping a secret for a secret reason; there is a girl with a tattoo (as well as earrings that are misplaced in a nose); and, there is an old man who annually receives a framed photograph of a flower.
Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
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