Summary and book reviews of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2009, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book

Book Summary

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story and financial intrigue.

A Sensational #1 Bestseller – Now a Major Motion Picture In Theaters March 2010.

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.

It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

A Friday in November

It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day–which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call.

“It arrived.”

“What is it this year?”

“I don’t know what kind it is. I’ll have to get someone to tell me what it is. It’s white.”

“No letter, I suppose.”

“Just the flower. The frame is the same kind as last year. One of those do-it-yourself ones.”

“Postmark?”

“Stockholm.”

“Handwriting?”

“Same as always, all in capitals. Upright, neat lettering.”

With that, the subject was exhausted...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About This Guide
The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group's discussion of Stieg Larsson's extraordinary thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

About This Book
This spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue was a sensation across Europe, with millions of copies sold.

It's about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden...and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It's about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

While the mystery at the center of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wraps up very satisfactorily, the novel itself does not. That's not to say that the book's ending is poor; it is, in fact, one of the most appropriate endings this reviewer has encountered. The problem is that it will without doubt leave the reader wanting more. Fortunately for his fans, Stieg Larsson completed two more books in the Millenium series before his untimely death. This is one book that lives up to its hype, and it is likely to get as much attention in America as it has in Europe since its publication there. Highly recommended.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

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Media Reviews

New York Times - Alex Berenson

But if the middle section of “Girl” is a treat, the rest of the novel doesn’t quite measure up. The book’s original Swedish title was “Men Who Hate Women,” a label that just about captures the subtlety of the novel’s sexual politics. Except for Blomkvist, nearly every man in the book under age 70 is a violent misogynist.

Los Angeles Times - Marjorie Miller

The writing is not beautiful, clipped at times (though that could be the translation by Reg Keeland) and with a few too many falsely dramatic endings to sections or chapters. But it is a compelling, well-woven tale that succeeds in transporting the reader to rural Sweden for a good crime story.

The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson

[A] huge bestseller in Europe and will be one here if readers are looking for an intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller that is variously a serial-killer saga, a search for a missing person and an informed glimpse into the worlds of journalism and business.

Library Journal

Sweden may be the land of blondes, Ikea, and the Midnight Sun, but Larsson, who died in 2004, brilliantly exposes its dark heart: sexual violence against women, a Nazi past, and corporate corruption. Highly recommended.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets.

The Independent - Jonathan Gibbs

If Larsson's book feels just a little amateurish, then perhaps that works to its advantage. This never feels like a by-the-numbers thriller. The twists and revelations work all the better for being worked for, rather than flung at the reader, two to a page.

The Guardian - Peter Guttridge

This is a striking novel, full of passion, an evocative sense of place and subtle insights into venal, corrupt minds. It's sad that a potentially great crime-writing career was ended almost before it began, but at least UK readers can enjoy this and look forward to the succeeding two novels in the trilogy.

Sydney Morning Herald - Robert Dessaix

Larsson's prose is bright and functional, like Sweden, with barely a hint of poetry and, while not all the characters are exactly multifaceted, the plotting and pacing are masterful. No wonder Europe has gone wild over Blomkvist and his rivetting sidekick -in Denmark The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has sold more copies than any book except the Bible. Will Larsson catch up with God? It's not out of the question. Less horrifyingly violent than the Bible, with a simpler plot line, Larsson's tale is much more believable and vastly more fun.

Reader Reviews

Jeanie

Great read...depends who u r
This book is absolutely amazing! If you are a crime junkie you will love it. I am a tenth grader and read it. A lot of people told me that they thought it was really weird and that they did not like it. I honestly believe that they judged it solely ...   Read More

Allison Box

Great Read
After reading the first chapter, I was skeptical that it would speed up, or that I would like it. But after the first chapter, I was hooked. I could not put it down until I finished it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves crime stories. ...   Read More

Katie

Love it when women fight back....
This book was 100 times better than the movie. I think most people who read the series will agree to that. It is a must read. It reminds me of the book THAT GIRL STARTED HER OWN COUNTRY by Holy Ghost Writer. If you love this type of spy, thriller...   Read More

Barrett Nelson

Know before U read!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mr. Larsson basically wrote one book. Sure, the first stands alone, but the next two are just a continuation of the first. ESPECIALLY read With Fire before Hornets Nest. It is really ONE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Beyond the Book

Stieg Larsson
Swedish author Stieg Larsson's life is every bit as fascinating as that of any fictional character. In fact, Mikael Blomkvist, the protagonist of The Millenium Series, bears many similarities to his creator.

Karl Stig-Erland Larsson was born on August 15, 1954 in Västerbotten, in northern Sweden. He was raised in the countryside by his grandparents until his grandfather's death in 1962 (despite considerable research, including questions to ...

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