"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" or "How America Spent Its Summer"

Unless you were living under a rock this past summer, you’ve probably encountered Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling Millennium TrilogyThe Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest—in some form or fashion: heard it, seen it, bumped into one of the half-million copies seemingly required by law in every American bookstore.

This is all Americans read this summer.

The trilogy, already a hit in its native Sweden where it came out in 2005, didn’t conclude in its American format until this past June, making it the must-read event of the summer. Its final installment, Hornet’s Nest
debuted at number one on The New York Times hardcover fiction list and remains strong at number three 18 weeks later. Impressive, but nothing next to the 66 weeks of best-sellerdom the paperback version of book one, Dragon Tattoo, can currently claim. 

But enough with the pedigree.

Dragon Tattoo's sexy UK cover.

So what the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, all about? Well, in a nutshell:

When disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is offered a private job investigating the mysterious disappearance of Harriet Vanger, member of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, it seems like just what he needs—a chance to flex his PI muscles while taking a much needed break from the suddenly hostile world of publishing. And besides, Vanger disappeared over 40 years ago, so it’s not as if Blomkvist will be in any danger. Or will he? Because soon Blomkvist is hot on the trail of a serial killer who will stop at nothing—nothing!—to keep him from uncovering the shocking—shocking!—truth . . .

Honestly? It’s a pretty standard murder mystery. Except, of course, for one thing—Blomkvist’s sidekick, the pierced and tattooed cyber punk prodigy known as Lisbeth Salander.

Salander, portrayed by Noomi Rapace, in the Swedish movie version.

Because Salander steals each and every scene in which she appears. Heck, she even steals the title—it's not called Blomkvist’s Book of Boring, after all—making the only real mystery in this novel why Larsson ever thought relegating her to mere sidekick status was a good idea. Because it's not. At all.

Bring on more Salander!

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2 Responses to “ "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" or "How America Spent Its Summer" ”

  1. Great review! But I didn't think Blomkvist was boring. I think part of what makes Salander so interesting is a result of the interplay between the two and the different approaches to things.

  2. Oh, I 100 percent agree that you need a straight man to contrast with Salander's, um, uniqueness. But I don't think the straight man has to be quite soooooo straight. Because, really, I find Blomkvist coma-inducing boring.


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