Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sweden: Stieg Larsson's 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' -WhereDunnit's verdict, and 'Millennium' tours of Stockholm.

Well, I managed to finish it this time: though it felt like a long haul in places.

Once I had got into the Vanger plotline there was never any chance that I wasn't going to keep on until the end - I got caught up in the storytelling in the same way as I do when reading one of Robert Goddard's books, and I really wanted to find out what had happened to Harriet (though I confess to being a little disappointed with the solution to her disappearance - in a novel of over 500 pages, with enormous detail about almost everything, there were plot tie-ups that seemed surprisingly abrupt).

Nor did I care much about who Blomkvist was sleeping with at any time though I could see at least some of that had a purpose for the plot. And sadly I never really believed in Salander – she's like James Bond – too ridiculously good at everything, not just the hacking and fighting, but being able to produce, for instance, firstly perfect Oxford English and then impeccable German with a deliberate Norwegian accent.

But despite the wildly-gothic plot and the smug way Blomkvist assured the Swedish people that their Stock Exchange crash wouldn't affect ordinary people's lives (we've all seen how well THAT theory's played out recently) I'm not sorry I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, if only to see what all the fuss was about. Mostly it's a page-turner: the ruthless pruning which would have improved it was impossible due to Larsson's death. I won't be rushing to read The Girl Who Played With Fire, but I won't dismiss it either.

One of the glowing tributes to Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo calls it Swedish crime-fiction's War and Peace. Sorry - in my opinion, Tolstoy he ain't!

It's now possible to take Stieg Larsson tours in Stockholm, courtesy of the City Museum. Here is a 12 minute radio article in English which talks a little about the story and characters, also about Larsson himself, and interviews readers from around Europe. (Click on the link on the Swedish radio page- you may have to select your audio settings at the bottom (Realplayer/ Windows) and then press Spara)

An article Fans Walk In The Footsteps of Stieg Larsson's 'Millennium' Trilogy gives details of route of the tours, when and where, and how much the tickets are.

Click on the map below to see WhereDunnit's updated map of the places in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo!


Anonymous said...

Very nice post. I agree with your assessment of the Harriet Vanger "ending". I also felt that the book cheated in regard of the family trees that Blomkvist spent the book poring over - I don't want to give away any spoilers but perhaps you know what I mean about the sense of let-down over that.

Thanks also for the maps, it is always so interesting to see these places, and I don't understand why more books don't include them. I always love it when they do.

Anonymous said...

i can't help but agree with you all in that i was expecting more following the hype of the book's release. Larsson has an easy style which is certainly a 'page turner' and vaguely akin to Chandler, although only vaguely, as he lacks the characterisation. i put this down to a lack of angst, which i find surprising given his background and the 'Nordic' setting (let's face it, most of Sweden is shrouded in darkness for 6 months of the year). the ending was trashy which spolied a lot of the prelim, yes lisbeth could clean out the villain but she could have done it in a dysfunctional, true 'techy' style rather than the Bond parody which we were given. similarly, 'blomquist' appears to be larsson's superhero/alter-ego, solving the 'crime' and doing 'good' in the meantime. never mind, i will give no.2 a try, as with a 'serial's'.

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Stieglarsson Sequels said...

Heelo, Thank you! Actually Stieg Larsson lived in Sweden, was the editor in chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert, shortly after delivering the scripts for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, In which reader will feel more alive whenever both the characters meet up and try working out to solve a mystery.