Rating: 4 Pierogies
Review: My mom left her copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at my house well over a year ago. It has been sitting on my dining room table the entire time.
My book club picked it as the next selection, and I finally shook off the dust and took a look. Now I ask myself what took me so darn long? All the hype around the book made me less interested in it, but there was hype for good reason.
Larsson is an excellent storyteller, who has created intriguing characters, and can weave a quick and intelligent plot. Even though this book is 300+ pages, I got through it in less than a week.
A number of friends have told me that they struggled through the first 150 pages. That first section wasn't boring or difficult for me, but I didn't find it particularly gripping either. After the first 150 pages, things pick up and the plot really takes off.
I suppose the mark of a good translation is that the book doesn't feel translated. Still I find that most translated works are a little choppy. This book had no such problem. The language was very smooth.
This is not a book for the faint-hearted. It's full of violence and dark themes. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Larsson's writing was heavily influenced by a violent assault on a woman that he witnessed, and he never forgave himself for intervening. This comes through clearly in the book.
What most impressed me was that all 3 books in the Millenium Trilogy were only discovered and published after Larsson had died. I'm sure some editing was done, but I can't imagine any major editorial overhaul was undertaken without the author being available. For an unpublished author to just leave a work like this behind was amazing to me.