The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Reg Keeland, translator)
3 out of 5 stars
From the Fall 2013 VPL Book Sale.
Read in June/July 2014.
This was a lot better than I expected. The writing was clunky in places but it was definitely not a Dan Brown situation. Stieg Larsson was a bit too fond of brand names and describing “cutting-edge” technology. Tip: if you don’t want your writing to sound dated immediately, avoid detailed descriptions of tech. A whole 5GB on Blomkvist’s hard drive, lol. OTOH, he skipped details of sex and sexual violence. So that scene (you know the one) is not quite as intense in the book as in the film.
Blomkvist is a Mary Sue (or Marty Stu, if you prefer). Every woman with a pulse wants to have sex with him—and who is he to say no? (cough) Larsson tries to be all PC—Blomkvist reads crime novels, but only ones written by women!—but at the same time, Salander is worried about the size of her boobs (*eyeroll*). Also the characters keep talking about Salander looking “anorexic,” which no. Because of Larsson’s police-blotter descriptions, we know she is 4’11” and 90lbs, so she’s mini, not anorexic. There’s a difference.
The translation was in UK English—I kept tripping over the word ‘gaol,’ which my brain insists on pronouncing “gay-ole,” even though I know it’s just a weird spelling of jail—but all the measurements were in Fahrenheit, feet, miles, etc. which just seemed weird for Swedish characters, who for sure would be using metric. It made me wonder who this translation was supposed to be for.
The book was pretty similar to the movie except Blomkvist goes to jail, or rather gaol, for a few months (IIRC, that wasn’t in the film) and the Harriet ending was a bit different, but otherwise, I think everything was there, which is interesting because it’s a long book and movie versions of much shorter books usually leave stuff out. So I think my sense that the book was wordy and could have used another round of edits is correct. However, in this case, it’s forgivable since, aykb, Larsson unfortunately died before any of his books were published.