Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This book was kindly left at the book-recycling desk on the beach last week, and since I had heard it mentioned more than once (I was not then aware that it has been made into a movie both in Europe and in North America), I decided to give it a try. It was a good read, well-written, and captivating. It's not particularly thought-provoking, being more of a straight-forward escapist novel, but it was certainly enjoyable. In a nutshell, an investigative reporter is hired to find the truth about the murder of a young girl 30 years earlier, and he ends up needing the help of "the girl with the dragon tattoo", a top-notch 25 year old private investigator who has a very troubled past.

I have no objection to the language in the book, and can't recall any swearing or cursing. The main character is not a Christian and is somewhat concerned about his teenage daughter's interest in religion, resolving to talk with her about it "later", but he is not overtly anti-Christian, and there are no real anti-Christian or anti-church sentiments espoused in the book. In fact, in spite of the character's stated lack of belief, some Bible texts are pivotal to the solving of the case, and this makes me wonder whether the author struggled with his thoughts regarding religion. There's no shortage of sexual freedom in this book, as relationships begin and end with impunity, but there are no descriptive encounters, just an acknowledgement of their occurence.

What I found really fascinating was my research on the author. Stieg Larsson was an investigative reporter in Sweden who faced death threats often, and had to take many measures to keep him and his life partner safe. You can read his interesting life story here. He died at age 50 of a heart attack, after having to climb seven flights of stairs at work due to the elevator being out of service (I'm guessing physical fitness wasn't at the top of his priority list?). This book and its two sequels are his only novels, and he had only just delivered all three manuscripts for print when he died, so all three works were published posthumously.

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