The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy (aka Millenium Trilogy)
Posted by nliakos on October 2, 2015
by Stieg Larsson (published in Swedish 2005-2007, in English 2008-2009)
My sister gave me her old Kindle with these books already on it, which is why I finally got around to reading them. After a somewhat slow start, I was really drawn into the story of progressive Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous Girl of the titles, hacker extraordinaire, possible Aspie, victim of many crimes and avenger of same.
Blomkvist is a pretty boring character, actually. He seems to be Larsson’s alter-ego, which could explain why he is so sought after as a lover by almost all the women in the novel! He romps through relationships, never committing himself–let his many lovers beware, they must not fall in love with him, while he loves them all–but is faithful to no one.
Lisbeth Salander is such a mix of good and bad, with a moral code all her own. Locked away in a mental hospital as a child, deprived of her civil rights, savagely abused by one who job it was to protect her and look out for her interests, she is completely fearless, incredibly smart and resourceful, and independent (the only people she depends on for help are her fellow hackers). I was rooting for her all the way, and she did not disappoint!
I read that Larsson actually wrote one immense manuscript, but his publisher decided to publish it as three separate books. I chose to read the three books as one (with an unsought hiatus when I couldn’t recharge the Kindle while I was in Greece this summer). I think they are best read this way, for they truly constitute one story. (Unfortunately, I stupidly read the books in the order I found them in on the Kindle (#1, #3, #2) instead of #1, #2, #3, which meant I was quite mystified by #3, which I then re-read as soon as I had finished #2, at which time it made a lot more sense! I think it’s a testament to the strength of the story that I even had the desire to re-read it.) I think a lot of sections that do not move the plot forward could have been edited out; perhaps Larsson’s death soon after he delivered the manuscript prevented the editor from being more ruthless with it.
The stories are also interesting as a window into Swedish culture (I think: are contemporary Swedish women really so forward about sex?). I was also surprised by the ethnic diversity of the Swedes in the novel, as shown by their surnames.