Title: Män som hatar kvinnor
English Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Year: 2005 (UK 2008)
Read on: 10/07/09
My thoughts: I have to say, it took me a while to get into this book at first. It's a really long book and the author tends to provide the reader with a lot of details, some of which are not that important. Also, i'm not sure the Italian translation of this book really does it justice, as the narration seems a bit 'forced' at bits. But there is two things that made me really love this book: the characters and the brave choice of themes. Characters are unique, especially Lisbeth. I love the way the author doesn't give us her thoughts or details about who she is and what her history is until much later, when we already know most of the other characters. She is fascinating and very powerful, and her descriptions are intriguing, make us want to find out more about her an what she had to fight against. Mikael is also a very strong character, and the fact that we know from the start that he has been wrongly accused and condemned of a crime make us instantly like him. From the start of the novel, I couldn't wait for the two of them to meet. Also, I love that he is presented as someone who is able to make a decision and stick to it, no matter what. These are the two protagonists, but I found extremely important and interesting for the development of the plot a series of other people, starting from Erika and her weird relationship with Mikael, and then of course Henrik Vagner and his whole family and even DIrch Frode and Armanskji, who are not mentioned very often but are still very significant.
As for the themes, I love the idea of finding out the past/history of one family, and the confusion and revelations that are generated by this search. In this book, the Vagner family is turned inside out and a series of characters make strong appearences and lead to more revelations. It's a mystery novel but also one about identity and the reasons that move people to act in certain ways, the way they are connected to each other. The original title suggests that the book is about 'Men who hate women', and some passages are disturbing and revolting, as Larsson doesn't try to make them easier to read, but they are necessary. I think his choice of theme is very brave, especially coming from a man, who put himself in the position of women.