Fiction — print. Translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 465 pgs. Library copy.
The original title in Sweden is Men Who Hate Women, which gives much more of the novel’s basis away than the international title but probably would not have encouraged people like my grandparents to pick the novel up. And this book, as well as the two subsequent books in the series, have become all the rage within my extended family. Grandparents, aunt, and uncles all loved the book so much that my mom and I just had to read the book they (and the rest of the world, apparently) keep raving about.
For some reason I decided that Larsson’s novel was about the sex trade, but that’s not entirely the case (latter book, maybe). Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, finds his professional life in shambles after being convicted of libeling a corporate titan, Wennerström, in a article in the magazine he owns, Millennium. Henrik Vanger, a former titan of the Swedish industry, offers to restore Blomkvist credibility with information about Wenerström he says he posses. The catch is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades, one that continues to haunt Vanger. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues, to solve the case and restore his name. As the novel progresses, and Blomkvist is pulled deeper and deeper into the secrets of the Vanger world, the most despicable parts of society play across the pages.
It took about fifty or so pages for me to become really interested (and, later, hooked) into this novel. After that the novel become a page-turner from that point on. I was absolutely sucked into the mystery of what happened to Harriet as well as the mystery behind the corporate corruption discusses in the novel and the journalistic dilemmas Blomkvist faces at the end of the novel. The main characters, Blomkvist and Salander, were incredibly complicated and complex; so much so that they felt real. I’m normally critical of novels and authors who cram too much into one story, but although this book had a lot going on everything flowed together perfectly. Once Larsson started digging deeper into the plot and revealing more details, it just made logical sense that everything going on this novel would go together (Nazis and all). A thrilling read in my book, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Larsson won the Glass Key Award in 2006 for ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’. This award is given annually by Skandinaviska Kriminalsällskapet (the Crime Writers of Scandinavia) to a crime novel written by a Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish author.