Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo + Weekend ChitChat

I think I mentioned that this week for work, I'm in Sierra Vista, AZ, about 80 miles south of Tucson. Yesterday I went to Tombstone, AZ, home of the O.K. Corral.  I did the tourist thing, went on a tour of a town, saw the infamous gun fight re-enacted, and visited a few museums there. And I fed animals in the petting zoo and drank far too much sasparilla soda given that I'm supposed to be on a diet.

Also, since I'm at the end of revisions, I tackled the end of THE GODDESS OF VENGEANCE WORE PINK GALOSHES, and I wrote about 3k this weekend.  I know middles are supposed to be the worst, but writing a satisfying ending that isn't too pat isn't exactly a cakewalk, either.  I always feel like the stakes are so high at the end!

The Girl with the Dragon TattooToday I had originally planned to go to Bisbee, AZ, another historic town, but I was distracted by Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short reading the books everyone's talking about, but this book was brilliant.  Painful to read at times (I don't like graphic scenes of violence), but tightly plotted with intriguing characters. Sometimes Larrson's writing style is a little different (of course, it's also a translation, so I don't know how much of a factor that is).  He goes into much detail about the characters - what kind of software products they use, what kinds of sandwiches they eat, what anti-establishment slogan is on Lisabeth Salander's t-shirt.  I sort of enjoyed all those details, though, since the books are set in Sweden and it made me feel more a part of that world.  I like knowing that they eat veal cutlets in a cream sauce and lots of open-face sandwiches on rye... usually, my only involvement with Swedish food involves dragging MJ to the cafeteria in Ikea.

Anyway.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a thriller, but it's also very much a murder mystery for the solving. In fact, it's practically a locked room mystery, as alluded to by the main character, Blomkvist, directly. I thought plotting was very tight, although it ended up in a darker place than I expected. I do admire a writer who plots nicely.  But really, it's the two main characters, Lisabeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo) and disgraced investigative journalist Blomkvist, who make the story. The two form an odd couple pairing, and I found myself deeply invested in their welfare. They're supported by a nicely fleshed out supporting cast, especially Blomkvist's "occasional lover" Erika Berger, who was very likable though I found myself wishing she'd just get out of the way already.  I also appreciate the theme of these books - Larsson had something to say about violence against women, and I think he makes his points poignantly without ever reducing the women in these books to mere victims.

I don't want to give away any spoilers. Suffice to say that, while this book goes to some very dark places, the darkness is ultimately redeeming. It's a real page turner both for plot and interest in the characters -- this one is going on my bookshelf at home. And the other two will be ordered forthwith.

So, on another note, knowing I'd be out of town when Mockingjay came out, I neglected to pre-order in the hopes of being able to score a copy here.  Except, yeah, the nearest boosktore is back in Tucson over an hour's drive away. Blast.

How was your weekend?  Were you caught up in any good reading/writing, or just having fun and relaxing after a long week - I consider either valid. :)


Stephanie Thornton said...

I haven't read Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, but I can't wait for Mockingjay. I'm not going to start reading until Friday night- I know I won't be able to put it down!

Old Kitty said...

This is too bizarre!

What did I swap in my library's bookswap shelves this Saturday gone??

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with a second copy of my Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile.

I can't wait to read it now! :-)

Take care

Jennifer Shirk said...

I've been seeing this book around bookstores and almsot bought it. Now I'm sorry i didn't.

brookeamanda said...

I read the whole series and "The Girl Who Played With Fire" is even better than "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." I really think these are the most well-written books I've read in a long time.

Shelley Sly said...

I haven't read this book, but I've heard so much about it, it's only a matter of time before I pick it up.

Hope you enjoy your time out of town!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

have you read the sequel? I read this one and was so turned off by the ending--until I realized there is a sequel. which I havne't read yet.

on another note, I wanted to invite you to be in my blog tour but can't find an email for you. can you email me at tamara at tamarahartheiner dot com?

Anonymous said...

This is such a good series to read .You sure right , it is a bit painful to read ( can you imagine to watch it in a big screen ? )and he meticulously included so much details in each character that you need to read slowly . It shows in the second and third book .
I love it and read all three as it is that good .
Can't wait for the third movie to come out in Oct 15 . Hollywood will remake these movies with Daniel Craig as Mikael Bloomvist .