Four days. A new Sorry Television record.
I was unquestionably aided in this week’s reading endeavor by the Thanksgiving holiday, which right now means I wish I had brought an extra pair of stretchy pants but a day or so ago meant hours of uninterrupted reading time, thwarted only occasionally by my mother’s well-intentioned attempts to initiate conversation–attempts I rebuffed by grunting monosyllabic replies from behind my paperback. Because aren’t endless solitary hours of quiet reading time what Thanksgiving is really all about?
And certainly, I had the right book in hand. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” has plenty of simultaneous compelling plots (to the point that after what was arguably the book’s major reveal, I was surprised to find there were still another 100 pages of denouement) and manages to cover the familiar crime-fiction territory of murder and intrigue without seeming stale. The book follows main character Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter and magazine editor who early on is charged with libel and consequently resigns his magazine post to spend a year in self-imposed exile, writing a family history for affable Swedish captain of industry Henrik Vanger, who has given Blomkvist the simultaneous (and more important) task of finding out what happened to a female family member that disappeared 30 years earlier. Along the way Mikael joins forces with Lisbeth Salander, a 20-something hacker and the famed owner of said dragon tattoo.
For a crime novel, “Dragon Tattoo” gets off to a slow start, which in retrospect I think has something to do with Larsson having written and submitted all three novels at once–200 pages of exposition seems less excessive in the context of three 700-page paperbacks than one. But the relationships so thoroughly established in the beginning–between Blomkvist and his colleague/longtime lover Erika Berger, between Salander and her employer, between Henrik Vanger and Blomkvist–prove relevant in the rest of the story, and in a way the time devoted to each person’s character makes the plot’s “whodunit” elements that much more compelling. Still, I would say the story truly picks up a little before the halfway point, and the last 100 pages have as much excitement as the first 400 combined.Continue reading “Well, that was easy”