Translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland
I’m confused. Please could someone explain why everyone raves about this book; why it has sold millions of copies around the world and why people are describing it as the best crime novel ever. I just don’t understand it – I found it to be just average, with quite a few flaws.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo does have a reasonably complex plot, with several different threads running parallel to each other, but the basic premise involves solving a murder, which remained a mystery for almost 40 years.
My main problem with the book was that I guessed the ending very early on. In my view, a fantastic crime novel will leave little clues along the way, continually leading you to think one thing, then doubt yourself and guess again. This book failed to do that – I just found my initial suspicions becoming stronger, until I was disappointingly proved right.
I also found the pace of the book to be slow. The beginning especially, contained far too many facts. I found myself becoming bogged down in the details, so was unable to find the reading experience enjoyable in several places.
I have heard a few people mention the negative portrayal of women in the book, and have to agree that this is another flaw. The original Swedish title can be translated as Men Who Hate Women, so I can see why it was changed for the international audience! The poor treatment of women in this book was a minor problem, but I think that reading books like 2666 recently has dulled my sensitivity to these issues and other people may be far more offended than I was.
I did find the writing to be of a good quality, and the translation was excellent, but the plot was a big disappointment. It contained nothing ground-breaking, or particularly clever – it was just an average crime novel, no better than the thousands of other ones produced each year. Am I missing something? What makes this book so special?
Did you enjoy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?
Are the sequels better?