‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, written by Stieg Larsson, but published posthumously, has been turned into a major motion picture in both Swedish and English. The novel is set in Sweden, focusing on the protagonist, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, after he loses a libel court case about businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström. However, the story has not even cooled from the press by the time Blomkvist is given a new offer of work. Henrik Vanger, a retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation offers him a slightly odd task – to research his family history but in reality he wants the truth discovered regarding the disappearance of his grandniece, Harriet. She went missing many years ago and is believed dead but Henrik still without fail receives the same present every year that she used to give him – a framed flower.
Along the way Blomkvist enlists the aid of expert computer hacker Lisbeth Salander who helps him track down the truth. However, Lisbeth seems to have her own story going on. Having grown up an orphan and spent time in mental asylums, she depends on a guardian even in adulthood and lives a in a very unusual manner.
The plot takes dark unexpected twists and ends up far more sadistic than I originally expected but it some ways I enjoyed the shock this entailed. It was refreshing to read something for a change that was so harshly vivid about really shocking crimes and experiences.
During the novel Blokvist embarks on a number of affairs whilst maintaining a nonexclusive sexual relationship with his co-worker Erika Berger. Salander also pursues a number of sub plots and has her own issues to deal with regarding her guardianship and work for Dragan Armansky at Milton Security company.
All the characters in this novel have loads of layers that are fascinating to uncover one at a time. The characters are developed at an excellent pace and the reader really learns to feel sympathy for them, despite being unable to relate to such extravagant lifestyles. The novel and it’s plot is cleverly written and engrossing.
Although this isn’t a novel I would have immediately picked off the shelf it is a definite page turner and I can totally understand why it has been so popular. This novel would be great as a holiday read or purely for pleasure. It’s not particularly literary or academically acclaimed but it is well worth a read.