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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


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156 replies to this topic

#1 Yagathai

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:18 AM

I just read it, and I saw in another thread that Vrana says she didn't like it. Personally, I feel very ambiguous about it. Sometimes I found the writing competent, and other times it seemed clumsy. I felt the same way about the characters. Some of them felt like real people -- I'm guessing those are the ones that Larsson based off of himself or other people he knew -- but others are two-dimensional cutouts from central casting. And the plot, such as it is, takes a long time to go not very far.

I certainly don't understand why it's as big of a hit as it is.

#2 Vrana

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:25 AM

I just read it, and I saw in another thread that Vrana says she didn't like it. Personally, I feel very ambiguous about it. Sometimes I found the writing competent, and other times it seemed clumsy. I felt the same way about the characters. Some of them felt like real people -- I'm guessing those are the ones that Larsson based off of himself or other people he knew -- but others are two-dimensional cutouts from central casting. And the plot, such as it is, takes a long time to go not very far.

I certainly don't understand why it's as big of a hit as it is.

Thank you! Couldn't have said it better myself. The character that annoyed me the most was Lisbeth Salander, to me she's such a Mary Sue it's not even funny.
I'm not saying that it is the most horrible thing ever written (thank you Goodkind), but it is so riddiculously overrated I couldn't even believe it the first day I realized that The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo was a book I had read and that this was its translated title. I was so disappointed since I was looking forward to reading this new hyped-up book.

And those of you who say that it might be that some is lost in the translation, it's not. It is, if possible, worse in swedish.

#3 Yagathai

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:42 AM

Yeah, she's totally a Mary Sue, one of the most egregious I can remember (since Name of the Wind, anyway).

I found it interesting that they changed the title so drastically, from Men Who Hate Women to what it's called here.

Edited by Yagathai, 10 December 2009 - 10:14 AM.


#4 polishgenius

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:52 AM

I don't entirely agree that it was rubbish, but it was certainly underwhelming. In particular, the 'whodunnit' aspect of the thriller didn't really seem thought through.
I'll probably pick up the sequels though.

#5 Lupigis

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 10:08 AM

I read the first two books in the series some time ago, back when everybody else (in Sweden, that is) had read them and were talking about them. My wife persevered and read the third as well but I didn't bother, even though it's sitting there in the bookshelf, waiting to be read.

It's not that I dislike them, I just don't really care. The only thing about these books that stand out is Salander, and while über-characters like her are entertaining up to a point you can also get tired of them rather quickly.

#6 Happy Ent

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:03 AM

Me and my wife, though living in Sweden, came late to the party and only just read it this year. She actually finished, I simply got fed up and stopped. Watched the movie, too! They are completely unremarkable serial killer suspense novels. I understand the appeal, just like I understand the appeal of Dan Brown or Michael Chrichton. But they aren’t for the refined tastes of the readers of this board. (Should have had more real dragons.)

#7 Strife

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:04 AM

I kind of liked the series, though I don't understand why it is that popular. I loved Salander, no matter how over the top she was, and it's by explaining her character I got my friends to want to read it as well. Perhaps I was just in the mood for reading about an ass-kicking Mary Sue that day.

#8 Eyelesbarrow

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:10 PM

Okay, I liked the series for its kind. Bought the Dragon Tattoo and the Girl Who Played With Fire. Of the two, I like DT better. The pay off in the second book was lame. It did not match the level of suspense in the previous book and the ending was not executed well, IMO. (Maybe it got lost in translation?)

Of the two major characters, I am more annoyed with Blomkvist than Salander. Actually, let me rephrase that. I am annoyed with the voice that the author uses when he describes Salander from Blomkvist's point of view. I am creeped out by his fascination with her. I feel that Blomkvist objectifies/deifies Salander because she is an amalagam of a Lolita/madonna/whore type to the point that she has become inhuman.

I know that authors and their characters are different, but I have an impression that Larsson put a lot of himself in Blomkvist, which adds to the creepiness. (Swedish people on the board, correct me if I'm wrong.)

#9 Poobah

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:15 PM

I liked these.

#10 gyrehead

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:20 PM

I really liked all three books. Never thought much about why others did. Or didn't. I tend to try and read outside of any curve like that. If I paid too much attention to what others like and possibly why, the Twilight books, Abercrombie, Sanderson and Weeks would have caused my head to explode by now.

#11 Regina

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:22 PM

And those of you who say that it might be that some is lost in the translation, it's not. It is, if possible, worse in swedish.


Really? That's somewhat disappointing. I admit I assumed it was a clunky translation, lol.





Regarding Salander: more than one person has called her a Mary Sue. While I can see why one would say that, I wonder does she actually fit the standard Mary Sue definition? She's SO terribly flawed and malajusted, after all.

#12 Borque

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 05:17 AM

Well I kind of liked them (6-7/10). I wouldn't call them "good literature". They were entertaining suspense novels though, some of very few Swedish ones I've read that I actually think deserves some kind of success, considering all the garbage I've read on that front from both foreign and Swedish authors.

One reason I did like them are somewhat particular to me though. I have moved around a lot in basically all the geographical areas and have some insight into some of the organisations, parts of society etc that Larsson describe. I liked those descriptions. I can understand most of this being lost on non-Swedes and even non-Stockholmers though. Also happy that the book treated technology/hacking in a reasonably believable way - I usually have issues with this in both movies and suspense literature where it essentially works like magic and does whatever the author needs it to do without regard for what is actually possible.

Though I absolutely hated

(spoiler for volume 2 or 3, don't remember which)
Spoiler


That was just too over the top.


One note - I agree the resolution in Fire is weak. That one and the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, should really be considered a duology or even two parts of the same volume, while the Dragon Tattoo is more standalone.

#13 Yagathai

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:56 AM

Regarding Salander: more than one person has called her a Mary Sue. While I can see why one would say that, I wonder does she actually fit the standard Mary Sue definition? She's SO terribly flawed and malajusted, after all.


Yes, but she is an invincible hacker / vigilante millionaire genius. She's like Bruce Wayne, basically.

#14 Strong_Belwas

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:11 AM

Also happy that the book treated technology/hacking in a reasonably believable way - I usually have issues with this in both movies and suspense literature where it essentially works like magic and does whatever the author needs it to do without regard for what is actually possible.


That's actually the thing about the book that i liked the less. The "hacking" thing is really too easy for Salander and it really does work like magic for her. Made me appreciate the book a lot less that i could have.

#15 Erik of Hazelfield

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:48 AM

I think part of the reason it's become so popular in Sweden is the recognition. Lisbeth's overseer is part of the Swedish bureaucracy nightmare, the Vanger family is heavily inspired by existing wealthy Swedish families, Mikael is in many ways representative for Stockholm citizens in general (and a certain class of celebrities in particular), and so on.

It's supposed to touch the reader - this can really happen, right here in our town. Most people even think the data hacking is realistic (I don't, but it's at least good enough not to be theoretically impossible). Compared to many other Swedish suspense novels this is a wonder of consistency and credibility.

#16 Borque

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:25 AM

That's actually the thing about the book that i liked the less. The "hacking" thing is really too easy for Salander and it really does work like magic for her. Made me appreciate the book a lot less that i could have.

Yes, it's obviously not entirely realistic. It's just that I find it's usually done much worse.

Most people even think the data hacking is realistic (I don't, but it's at least good enough not to be theoretically impossible). Compared to many other Swedish suspense novels this is a wonder of consistency and credibility.

Exactly!

Though I wouldn't limit myself to 'Swedish' in the last sentence. Technology tends to get a very flawed treatment by authors from all around the world.

#17 Jora

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 11:09 AM

Haven't read the novels, but I've seen the first two movies (the third one isn't out yet in Finland) which I think are really good.

#18 Lightsnake

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:44 AM

Salander isn't a mary sue. She's just skills, but she's also so fucked up with a great deal of flaws it more than rounds out.

#19 TheEvilKing

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:57 AM

Pretty disappointed to hear the generally negative comments as I picked this up as part of a 3-for-2 deal at Borders (the other ones being The Book Thief and Watch You Bleed: The Sage of Guns N' Roses).

I've been considering giving it away as an Xmas present anyway.

#20 Poobah

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 06:58 AM

Pretty disappointed to hear the generally negative comments as I picked this up as part of a 3-for-2 deal at Borders (the other ones being The Book Thief and Watch You Bleed: The Sage of Guns N' Roses).

I've been considering giving it away as an Xmas present anyway.


Don't let peer pressure decide your tastes for you. Make your own decision.

As I said I really liked these books, and I'm sure lots of people did. I have to admit as a super-introverted semi-autistic social/mental fuckup I really identified/empathised with Lisbeth, but if anything that just shows that she's well written in my opinion. In my opinion, if any character is a 'mary sue' then it's Mikael the witty/beautiful/successful stud/celebrity but I found my self rather liking him once he stopped irritating me.