“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson

The ostensible protagonist of Stieg Larsson’s posthumously published bestseller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is journalist Mikael Blomkvist. It’s true center, though, is the girl of the title, Lisbeth Salander, who doesn’t get fully introduced until page 38:

[Lisbeth] was a pale, anorexic young woman who had hair as short as a fuse, and a pierced nose and eyebrows. She had a wasp tattoo about an inch long on her neck, a tattooed loop around the biceps of her left arm and another around her left ankle. On those occasions when she had been wearing a tank top, [her boss] also saw that she had a dragon tattoo on her left shoulder blade. She was a natural redhead, but she dyed her hair raven black. She looked as though she had just emerged from a week-long orgy with a gang of hard rockers.

Larsson’s novel is a complicated one. Blomkvist is sued for libel by a shady businessman, then is asked to investigate a decades-old murder in a wealthy family. Salander, meanwhile, does her own investigations in other areas until her path crosses with Blomkvist’s. Blomkvist is engaging, the mysteries are involving, but it’s the character of Salander that’s truly bewitching. I enjoyed this book up to a point, then I flat-out loved it and begrudged putting it down. It’s in the spirit of Smilla’s Sense of Snow, the books of Henning Mankel, but it reminded me most strongly, in only good ways, of Tana French’s novels, In the Woods and The Likeness. Highly recommended, but not for the squeamish.

One Response to ““The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson”

  1. Steph Says:

    Well, you’ve gone and said the magic words: Tana French. I read both her books earlier this year and loved them both, so if this is really anything like that then I know I’m in for some good reading. Of course I have seen this book (and its sequel) all over the place but I wasn’t sure it was really going to blow me away and so didn’t go out of my way to read it. Now I will!