Gill's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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's review
Nov 19, 09

bookshelves: 2009, month-11, foreign-translation
Recommended for: fans of Val McDermid, Nicola Griffith
Read in November, 2009

Following his conviction for libelling a prominent financier, journalist and publisher Mikael Blomkvist leaves Stockholm for the northern countryside and takes a commission, ostensibly to write a family history for tycoon Henrik Vanger. In reality, elderly Henrik wants one last attempt at solving the mystery of his favourite niece, who went missing as a teenager some forty years ago. He's convinced that she was murdered - by a member of his dysfunctional family.

This is a great thriller. It's a big book but don't be put off. The first couple of pages hooked me but I found it a slightly slow start until the introduction of the eponymous character, Lisbeth Salander.

She is a particularly intriguing character; we learn very little about her childhood and this only leaves you wanting more! How did she come by her mad hack0r skillz? How does she speak multiple languages with multiple accents? What happened to make her socially withdraw to the point where she was identified as being unable to manage her own affairs?

Larsson starts each section of the book with a statistic about violence against women. Given that Swedish society is renowned as one of the most gender-equal in the world, these are frequently startling. I would love to know how these stats compare with other Western societies like the UK or USA.

I enjoyed Larsson's writing and his world view and look forward to reading the other two titles. I loved his ironic name-check of Val McDermid - this book is at least as dark and gruesome in parts as some of hers!

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