Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweden: Stieg Larsson's 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' - starting and stopping.

The world is thick with reviews of 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' and there's little need for me to contribute another one. I haven't read other commentaries but the fact that it's a number one bestseller indicates how popular it is, and I believe that it has also achieved the feat of being critically acclaimed, too.

This is difficult for me, as I started reading the book a few months ago and found it less than compelling. The prologue was intriguing, but then I found myself bogged down with chunks of exposition about financial crimes far less exotic than those happening around me every day. I realised I was skimming paragraph after paragraph. Lisbeth Salander was introduced, but I wasn't moved by her, either. She struck me as a character very much following in the footsteps of, say, Donna Leon's Signorina Elettra crossed with the goth-chick-lab-tech traits of a variety of US dramas such as 'NCIS' (2003 - current) and 'Mysterious Ways' (2000 - 2002).

So I laid it aside as wave upon wave of praise crashed over it, and I felt compelled to give it another try. By the end of the week I'll know whether I've changed my mind!

Until then, here's my map of the (mainly) Stockholm locations of TGWTDT as far as I've now got:


View Larger Map

23 comments:

Dorte H said...

I read the first book in the series because my children gave it to me :)
The Danish title (Men who hate women) did certainly not appeal to me, and I don´t remember how long it took before I was caught in by the book.
It will be fun to see if you are going to like it.

maxine said...

As usual, I love your map.
I read and enjoyed this book, but it is jerky, leisurely and, in the end I felt the solution a cheat for reasons I will not state as you have not finished - or decided whether to finish.
I am glad I read it, as it is a good book I think. I believe that, had the author lived and been able to collaborate more with his editor, a better book would have resulted. It must be hard to edit a book after the author has died for various reasons.
Having just read the second book, I can say it is much more gripping, and wide-ranging in content, than the first, though even so there is a 200-page prologue (I do not know if that will turn out to be relevant to book 3) and various "deus ex machina" devices and some clumsy aspects. But, I could not put the book down - I found it utterly compelling. I'd say that if you are a crime-fiction specialist, these books are ones that need to be read - a bit like Sjowall and Wahloo I suppose (though Larsson is messy heat where S/W are measured, controlled ice).

Barbara said...

Steph, you're not the only one who found this a bit of a head-scratcher. I thought it would tank in the US market because of its rambling length and the changes in tone. But I was wrong - it made and I suspect that means there's something there that just didn't speak to me, because the US publisher is pretty clumsy generating buzz (which rarely works very well here anyway, unless it's a well-known author churning out the same book as the last dozen times...)

So don't feel odd-woman out. Norm was equally unimpressed but loved the second book ... so I will have to try that.

Reg said...

Hi, just wondering how you arrived at the location of Hedeby at Ljusne. I believe the island is south of the town in the book, so this doesn't seem to match, though it's been a while since I read it.

Reg
http://reg-stieglarssonsenglishtranslator.blogspot.com/

Reg said...

Sorry, didn't see the word "approximate"!

Dorte H said...

Hi, I just wanted to tell you I have ordered two used Vera Stanhope books right now(first & third from same seller because that is cheapest).
Another cosy parcel to be looking forward to.

WhereDunnit said...

Reg, as Hedeby is fictional, I looked for a place that was approximately the right distance up the coast, which had a railway station and was close enough to the sea. There isn't anywhere along that coast that I could find that matches exactly the description of Hedeby.

Reg said...

You'er absolutely right, I tried finding a counterpart too...

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Mirza Ghalib said...

The story is gripping..for those who love crime thrillers..its just way too awesome..The characters are strong,they leave an impression on your mind..The plot is nice,agreed there could have been a few less pages where the book goes dragging a bit,but then it all adds up to your reading experience and isn't that boring..I liked it very much and even went on reading the other two volumes of this trilogy..and I guess it is perfectly great..the plot stays in your mind even afterwards for awhile and the characters look so real...If you like reading,reading smart crime fiction,reading a book you can get lost in...I'd say go for it :)

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