Monday, September 13, 2010
Not for the faint of heart...
I was in Hilton Head last week. In between walking on the beach, swimming in the sea, riding bikes and taking care of a 3 month old baby, I read several books. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson was one. From the first paragraph, the author had me hooked. The suspense and sense of mystery that begin at page one and build in intensity all the way to page six hundred forty-four kept me awake at night speculating on the identity of a fictional criminal, while I should have been snatching a few hours of much-needed rest. Without giving anything away, investigator Mickael Blomqvist navigates a maze of theories, suspects, crimes and love affairs as he attempts to solve the 40 year old murder of young Harriet Vanger. The plot and characters are dark and complicated, at times disturbing. Now we arrive at the 'not for the faint of heart' aspect of the book. There are recurring themes of sexual abuse concerning the main character as well as side characters throughout the story. Some of this is described in detail and is horrifying in its cruelty. If you are prone to nightmares after reading, this might not be the book for you. As far as the writing goes, it is obvious in places that this book has been translated from its original language. Some phrases are translated in a literal way that probably does not exactly capture original meaning--"the back of beyond" is used to indicate a Swedish town distant from the civilization and bustle of Stockholm. I am not a scholar of the Swedish language, but the sense is probably something more like "outback" or "frontier." This doesn't create a problem in reading, but phrases often sound clumsy.
Overall, this was a book that captured my attention in every way until I finished it. I have already purchased the sequel. It is a New York Times Bestseller for a reason!