The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the first book in a trilogy written by Stieg Larsson, often referred to as the Millennium trilogy. Sadly, Stieg Larsson died a few years ago, just after his manuscripts had been accepted by the publisher. He was a journalist, and died at his desk.
Swedish writer and journalist Stieg Larsson’s (1954-2004), is now rapidly becoming famous for his internationally renowned and successful Millennium Trilogy.
Stieg Larsson is chiefly known for his work and writing in the field of fascism, racism and right-wing extremism in Sweden. He finished three detective novels prior to his sudden death of a heart attack in 2004. Rumors say there exists a fourth, not quite complete, manuscript as well.
Since Stieg Larsson’s first book was released in Sweden in 2005. Over 2.6 million copies have been sold (Sweden has a population of 9 million). More than 8 million copies have been sold in Europe and the Danish publisher, Modtryk, commented “that only the Bible has sold more copies than Stieg Larsson in Denmark”. With several awards to its name, the rights to the Millennium Trilogy and Stieg Larsson’s following should increase in the years ahead his novels are scheduled to appear in 32 countries worldwide by 2010.
The trilogy is in the process of being filmed, with the first book being filmed in 2008, by Danish director Niels Arden Oplev. The first film will premiere in Scandinavian cinemas in 2009.
The Millennium Trilogy:
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2008
- The Girl Who Played With Fire, 2009,
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, 2010.
- The movie version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was released July 6, 2010 in the US and July 12 in the UK
- See also: About Stieg Larsson and Me, by Eva Gabrielsson
Stieg Larsson, My Friend - a biography.
The Tattooed Girl – The Enigma of Stieg Larsson,
and Stieg Larsson owns.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is yet another great Swedish crime novel, with an intricate story and interesting, well developed characters. The book is the latest in the great Swedish crime fiction tradition that begun in the 1960’s by Sjowall & Wahloo and has continued with Henning Mankell, Hakan Nesser and a number of other excellent authors. Stieg Larson is perhaps the greatest Swedish crime writer ever.
Mikael Blomkvist, one of the main characters in trilogy, is an investigative financial journalist and also publisher/co-owner of the independent magazine Millennium. In one of his stories, about the crooked and wealthy financier Hans-Erik Wennerstrom, he goes too far. Wennerstrom sues Blomkvist, and Blomkvist loses and is sentenced to jail. Also, of course, Millennium loses credibility and advertising revenue.
However, wealthy Henrik Vanger offers Mikael a deal he can hardly refuse. By doing a job for Vanger that involves uncovering the truth of a disappearance that has been unsolved for 40-odd years, he will get access to evidence to convict Wennerstrom and thus ensure the survival of Millennium.
In examining the case, Mikael Blomkvist eventually teams up with Lisbeth Salander, a free spirited young woman with a dragon tattoo associated with the mysterious security firm Milton security, who is also a drop-out from society, has been labeled dangerous by social workers, and is unable to control her own finances and manage her own life. However, Lisbeth Salander has amazing computer skills and is a very talented hacker with ties to an international group of hackers. Lisbeth Salander is the coolest of avenging angels, and an intriguing heroine.
Together, Mikael and Lisbeth, a quite unlikely but very fascinating pair, manage to piece the case together. And as the pieces fall into place, the pace of the book picks up. The suspenseful conclusion involves the fate of the victim in Vanger’s mystery, Wennerstrom's power, the future of Millennium, the Vanger secret, as well as backdrops of a Nazi past.
Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is one of the best crime books written lately. The characters, especially Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, and the interpersonal dynamics, are highly interesting and well described, and the investigation tickles you imagination. The story is haunting. Like excellent wine, its taste will linger for quite a while after you have finished with it.
Praise for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson:
'The thriller of the decade’ Evene.fr
‘.. so many thrillers, however powerful, are instantly forgotten. Stieg Larsson’s novel will linger long after it is closed.’ le Monde
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has been a huge bestseller in Europe and will be one here if readers are looking for an intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller that is variously a serial-killer saga, a search for a missing person and an informed glimpse into the worlds of journalism and business." Patrick Anderson, Washington Post
Stieg Larsson and that girl with her dragon tattoo (background)
It is a strange story, the one about Stieg Larsson. The tale of the leftist Swedish journalist who spent evenings and nights at home, after work, with his fictional girl friend; a strange, thin, tattooed , somewhat cold-looking feral hacker lady. A lady named Lisbeth Salander. Smart, remembered everything she had ever read. Who could make a computer do almost anything but make coffee. A lady not afraid of snaring peoples PC's and laptops, breaking into them and monitoring their every keystroke. What a friend! What a resource for an investigative reporter. But also somewhat lacking in communicative competence, somewhat rude and almost totally devoid of social graces. And with a dark, very dark, extremely well-hidden past - to some extend not even known and understood even by herself. Maybe modeled on someone he knew ...who knows.
And then, in sitting in front of his PC, in the darkness of the cold Swedish night, he matched her up with a guy resembling himself. Another journalist,from another journal - named Millennium instead of Expo (which was where he worked). Mikael Blomkvist was the name he gave him. A man seemingly very similar to himself. Smart, great communicator, socially pretty smooth, full of compassion,extremely concerned with justice (in a moral, not legal sense), with some leftist political tendencies, albeit being a financial journalist rather than a political one. And willing to take risks, to publish stories about the rich and powerful, to take on the establishment on his own, with scarcely any resources to fight. Also, somewhat disgraced and freshly sentenced to jail. Stieg Larsson even let Blomkvist fall in love with his lady of the long working evenings, Lisbeth. But Lisbeth, being Lisbeth - fiercely independent, remote, and ticking on a totally different timer - would not totally obey her master and inventor, Mr. Larsson. She refused to love Mikael Blomkvist back. Or, at least, to show it.
What an odd couple they are! How could they ever get along? Well, they somehow did - Stieg Larsson made them get along. And Stieg Larsson typed and typed, created and revised. For years he labored, and wrote three finished books constituting a tightly knit whole, drafted a fourth and outlined volumes five and six. Ten books, that was his plan, like the grand masters of Swedish crime fiction, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, and as Hakan Nesser in his series about Van Veeteren after them.
Today we know the three first books, the trilogy, as the Millennium trilogy: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. We also know that the fourth book will probably not be published.
The Millennium trilogy was written within a long Swedish tradition of radical literature – Ivar Lo-Johansson, and Vilhelm Moberg, to name but a couple – and, also, critical series of crime fiction books and thrillers by radical authors such as Sjövall & Wahlöö and Jan Guillou.
And when the first three books were finished, and finally met his high standards, Stieg Larsson sent them to a publisher to have them published. Shortly after, and before they were published, he tragically died, without seeing his work in print.And what a work it was! A strikingly original trilogy, containing vivisections of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets, several doses of liberated Swedish sex, a tale of conspiracy, classical crime mysteries and large-scale thriller plots, all layered smartly one on top of the other, like a Chinese box. Three books, tens of stories and side stories, extremely intriguing and fascinating characters, with some sexual abuse, love and attraction, hacking, violence, and chilling danger thrown into the mix. With the ever present feeling of urgency, the need for more information and action leading to resolution. So now there is even a Stieg Larsson Trilogy Bundle. And more fancy stuff to come, I am sure.
In Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Germany the books have sold unlike anything else, in millions upon millions. And they are selling great in England and the US, but not nearly up to the levels one would expect. English and US publishers are bad at selling foreign fiction. And in this case we are dealing with a deceased author. So there are no TV-shows, no book reading events, or author signings. Thus, bloggers around the globe that have read, reviewed and loved the books have come to play a prominent part in their marketing.
And – what is more – the books deserve it. Perhaps this is the best crime fiction trilogy in decades? It most certainly is my favorite for that title!