A Tumbuka lad in exile (tiwonge) wrote,
A Tumbuka lad in exile
tiwonge

Reading

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Bridget had a copy of the book. Maybe for a book club or something. She read it and gave it to Mom. Mom read it. I saw it when I was in NC for Thanksgiving, and inherited it. I read it on the plane ride home (and then stayed up late Saturday night to finish it). I'd been wanting to read it because I'd heard all kinds of good things about it.

I was unimpressed with it.

The plot was pretty good. I'll give it that. Which is probably why it makes a good movie. (Well, unless I'm as unimpressed with the movie as I was with the book.)

The characters weren't bad. Believable, and interesting. Except at the end when Salander becomes a disguise artist and manages not only to disguise her appearance (that part isn't unbelievable) but speak fluently in other languages, even so far as to speak a foreign language with a foreign accent. She had been characterized as a survivor and a computer genius (and there had been previous hints of her changing her appearance), but the language thing came totally out of the blue, and there was nothing in the background we were given about her to indicate it, so I had a tough time swallowing it. Blomvkist and Berger were both relatively well fleshed out, I thought. Salander, a bit less so. I'm not sure that he knew exactly what he wanted to do with her--she seemed somewhat of a blank canvas that he used to paint his Deus ex Machina on. (And I refuse to believe she is the top hacker in Sweden when she only runs around with other people's hacks.)

But I couldn't stand his writing. It was blunt and boring. There was at the same time way too much technical detail (naming programs and websites used to do things, and giving all the details of the new computer Salander wanted to get) and too little detail (too much hand-waving about hacking, for example, especially given the technical details he gives about computers elsewhere). Besides those boring interludes in the narrative, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of description. Some physical description (especially of Salander), but very little tone or background description. I don't know much more about Sweden than I did before--it gets cold in the winter and there's lots of snow. Some of the stylistic problems I have with the book may be due to the translation, but I'd guess it's present in the original.

I'd recommend it, I guess. It's a page turner, but because of the prose, it took me a while to really get excited by the book. It really wasn't until I was about halfway through that things started to click.

I'm not sure if I want to read the rest of his books. The characters weren't fascinating enough (Salander is too flat, despite his attempts to flesh out her past and her motivations, and Blomvkist was only rarely engaging a character) to draw me to the next book.
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I didn't think it was a particularly good book either. Not to the extent that every other person on a plane these days seems to be reading it! However, I thought the movie was really good. It passed the acid test - I can remember most of it a year after my viewing. These days remembering most movies are watched and forgotten immediately.