Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

My book for June was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Talking with Sharon's brother Tom at a crab feed last year, this book was on a longer list of books that he was recommending. Then, in late May at an organizational meeting for Jack's all-star baseball team, I mentioned to one of the other parents, Patty, that I was looking for something to read next. She recommended the book and brought it to practice the next day.

I have never had so many people come up to me and say something about a book I was reading. Over the course of three weeks while I was sitting and reading the book at lunch, five different people stopped and asked me about the book or made a comment about the book. This is very unusual. I think that it is a function of how popular the book is right now.

The book is set in contemporary Sweden and was written by a Swedish author who died before the book was published. It is the first book in a trilogy. In places, you can tell it is a translation; the structure of some sentences is odd. The book also suffers from being too descriptive in sections: I went here, I did this and then I did that.

It is a difficult book to characterize. At its heart, it is a murder investigation, but that is a simplification. There is a lot going on in the book. The author weaves together a number of themes including violence against women, the incompetence of investigative journalists, the moral bankruptcy of big business and Swedish Nazism.

The book won a number of European book awards. I would rate it a solid B+. I enjoyed it enough that I started the second book of the trilogy.

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