Having seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on every best-seller list worldwide, I went ahead and ordered a copy for myself last week from Flipkart. Even though I had heard praises from almost every one who had read the book, I wanted to check for myself what the hype about this book was all about. And boy oh boy, was I in for an awesome read!
The Plot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was originally written in Swedish by its Swedish author and novelist, Stieg Larsson and is the 1st novel in his award winning Millennium Series. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo along with the other two novels in his trilogy, ironically, became bestsellers only after his death in 2004.
Apparently, Stieg Larsson was witness to the gang-rape of a young girl named Lisbeth whom he failed to protect and this inspired the theme for his books with the female protagonist named Lisbeth Salander and thus was born The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. His books have gone on to become international best-sellers and earned him rewards and recognition from all corners.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo kicks off by introducing us to the character of Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who works for the political magazine Millennium. Mikael has just lost a murky and mysterious libel case against a Swedish Industrialist and is now facing jail time. With his professional image in tatters, he is hired by Henrik Vanger, an octogenarian industrialist to investigate the disappearance of his great niece, Harriet Vanger who vanished under mysterious circumstances some forty years ago.
Despite his misgivings, Mikael decides to take up the work under the guise of writing the Vanger family book and also because Henrik promises to give him information that could shed new light on the libel case that Blomkvist lost. Henrik seems convinced that Harriet was murdered by one of his family members, most of whom he detests. “I detest most of the members of my family,” he tells Blomkvist. “They are for the most part thieves, misers, bullies and incompetents” — a description that will prove to be, if anything, too kind.
As the plot builds, we are introduced to more and more characters such as Erika Berger, Blomkvist’s business partner and friend. But none of them are as interesting, psychotic and mysterious as Lisbeth Salander, the female protagonist who is actually The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, now goes into such twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing at every step, unable to put down the book at any cost.
How the two, Lisbeth and Blomkvist, uncover the truth about Harriet’s disappearance forms the major plot of the book and is a brilliant, spell-binding book that keeps the reader interested at every step.
The Good Bit about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The strength and appeal of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lies in the portrayal of its two main characters, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. While Blomkvist is fascinating as the journalist-detective and comes to life with every unfolding chapter, the book truly belongs to Stieg’s sketching of the character of Lisbeth Salander. A computer hacker by profession, Lisbeth’s portrayal as an anti-social, introverted, mysterious and complicated person is done beautifully and leaves us with an everlasting impression. A perfect folly for Blomkvist, Salander is a heroine that one hates to love.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo scores on all fronts such as originality, twists and turns, character sketching and amazing narration. A must read for ever fiction lover!
The Not So Good Bit about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
It takes a little time to come to grips with the novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and especially once the Vanger family history starts, keeping track of different family members becomes tedious at places. Also, the novel depicts sexual violence at many places and hence it is not suitable for all ages.
On a personal front, I felt that the end was a bit hurried and the part about how Blomkvist gets even with the industrialist to whom he had lost the libel case earlier in the book.
Final Verdict on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is an absolute must read for all fiction lovers. It has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing at every stage and the characters are fascinating, interesting and absolutely amazing.
And for all those who love a book with a great discount, Flipkart is currently offering an amazing 40% discount! The MRP of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is INR 350 but I got my copy at INR 210 and that too with free home delivery.