Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

July 18, 2010

Before you read this review, pour yourself a cup of coffee …

 Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonMy rating for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 4
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In the Swedish thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“, Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist / magazine editor who has just lost a libel case under shadowy circumstances, is hired by multi-millionaire Henrik Vanger to investigate a decades old disappearance case of his niece Harriet. Harriet vanished from a small island owned by the powerful Vanger family.
 
 Would you like another cup of coffee? Blomkvist teams with Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker with an amazing photographic memory and anti-social tendencies who…has a dragon tattoo. Let me put on another pot of coffee.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a strange book, the middle is fast paced and exciting as the investigation into Harriet’s case evolves, even though I found it impossible to keep up with the various Vanger cousins and relatives (Blomkvist researches through a cover story of ghost writing Henrik Vanger’s biography), the ending is a bit slow and takes a turn from a murder mystery to a financial takedown. Here, have another cup of coffee.

The character of Lisbeth is drawn up very well, but Blomkvist is lacking some depth. After 460 pages it’s not clear whether Blomkvist actually cares about the women he sees or just resigned to his commitment issues, sure he’s a nice guy – we’ve been told that by every woman he sleeps with.

Another cup of coffee?

Even though I don’t understand what the title has anything to do with the book (besides the obvious, literal meaning – which in the context of the book is meaningless as well), I still liked it. The story is well written and interesting; this is a good book and deserves praise.

A note to acknowledge the fine translation by Reg Keeland, if you know him, buy him a cup of coffee from me.

And if you didn’t get it, everybody drinks coffee…or about to have a cup…or making coffee…or cleaning the coffee machine. Literally every other page – I’m not exaggerating.


Personally, I thought it was hilarious.

Tell me, how do you like your coffee?

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book from the local library.
*Ama­zon links point to an affiliate account

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Wrap Up

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

16 Comments

  • Chelle July 18, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I don't like coffee. Coffee is for a last ditch effort to stay awake after pulling all-nighters writing papers then giving a speech and having a debate the next day. These days are what coffee is for. Anywho, I think the original title was something like "men who hate women" so The Girl… titles are perhaps not so clever but less put-offish.

  • Rose City Reader July 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I have all three audio versions on my hold list at the library. I'm looking forward to them. I confess that my appetite is easily stimulated by what I am reading, so I will likely have a caffeine overdose with this one!Glad I found your blog. I have signed up as a follower.

  • Rose City Reader July 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    And thank you for deciding to participate in the Battle of the Prizes, American Version, Challenge! If you do a sign up post (and I hope you do), please leave a link in a comment on the challenge page and I will add you to the list.Happy reading!

  • BookQuoter July 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    What an eye for that detail. I didn't realize that. Thanks.

  • parrish lantern July 21, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I keep meaning to read this book as i have heard a lot of good things about it & its now coming out as a film (so must read, before see). Now with the added excuse for excess caffeine its a must.

  • Man of la Book July 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

    parrish lantern, the movie is already out on DVD (available for streaming on Netflix). I do however recommend reading the book first.

    Now, back to my morning coffee…

  • The Norwegian BookGi July 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    The Norwegian (and Swedish) title for this book was "Men Who Hates Women". I think this book is a bit overrated. The first part is slow, with too many useless details. I was so dissappointed when I read it. The two next installments in the series are way better, number 2 is the best one of them.

  • mummazappa October 28, 2010 at 9:09 am

    yeah what is it with all of that superfluous detail about coffee, sandwich meat, bread etc? I’ve noticed this in just about every scandinavian book i’ve ever read, it’s so funny.

    • zohar October 28, 2010 at 9:11 am

      Yes, me too. It seems to be pattern across Scandinavian literature.
      I think it’s either a joke we don’t get or something that’s lost in translation.

  • Rose City Reader November 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I had your review in mind when I read the book last week, so every coffee reference made me laugh. What got me was, not did they drink a lot of coffee, but they drank coffee at all hours of the night. It could be 2 in the morning and they were making a pot of coffee!

    Thanks for leaving the link to your review. I added it to my review post.

    Rose City Reader

    • zohar November 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      LOL, yep all hours of the night. I speak several languages and the phrase “let’s get a cup of coffee” sometimes mean “let’s go have a talk”. However, in the context of this book I do think they overdose on coffee, because it’s not only drinking, but as you said making a pot, cleaning the machine etc.

  • Carolina November 11, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I tried to read this book in Italian (“Uomini che odiano le donne”), and maybe a bad translation is to blame, but I could not get through it. Really, I tried several times!

    I have a rule that if I’m not captivated by the third attempt, I just let it go … so, that’s what I did. Maybe I’ll have better success with the english version.

    BTW, I survive on coffee 🙂

    • zohar November 11, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      I also read in several languages & learned that a translator can make all the difference.
      You are a much better person than I am for trying to read a book three times.

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