Rating : 8.5 /10
Just about everyone I know had raved to me about the wonders of this book. And then of course, the are the fabulous reviews that it has got from just about every major newspaper. In addition, popular Indian magazine Outlook asked prominent personalities about their favourite reads of 2009 and Sonia Gandhi, Omar Abdullah and Aamir Khan had this book on their list.
If all this does not build tremendous hype, I don't know what will. So when I picked the book a couple of days ago, I really hoped I would like it. I needn't have been so worried. I just couldn't put this book down for the most part. I snatched minutes when I got back from work to read. I snatched coffee breaks to read this book. I had to force myself to put this aside for some time and get some work done.
In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first of the Millenium Trilogy, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, after losing a libel case against a prominent businessman, is hired by Henrik Vanger, the head of a wealthy Swedish industrial family. His job is to investigate and solve the mystery behind Harriet Vanger's disappearance 40 years ago. A dangerous, disturbed genius hacker Lisbeth Salander helps Blomkvist in his investigations.
This is a very simple summary of a complex, long, detailed novel that has several parallel storylines that intersect at some important places. This book is, quite obviously, a page-turner. For a 544-page book, it is a surprisingly fast read. But it isn't flawless. Sometimes, the sub-plots seem too extensive and just when you're waiting for a crucial moment in one plot, another subplot interferes.
The book is detailed, sometimes far too much, especially when Larsson writes of journalistic ethics or the history of financial journalism. But that does offer valuable insights to the characters, speaking of whom, Lisbeth Salander is a most original, captivating heroine. Larsson's plot is fascinating and Reg Keeland's translation makes for an easy read. There are several disturbing moments in the book; there's nothing too scary as such, but disturbing, most certainly.
Among the several plot twists, there are a couple that I guessed, but it was still exciting to see the story unfold. The placement of these twists are excellent too, because just when I thought nothing too exciting had happened in a while, there's something that makes me sit up and gasp.
If you haven't read this book yet and you enjoy thrillers and mysteries, I suggest you make some time for it. I'm looking forward to reading the sequels to this book. But not immediately. I need some happy, lighter reads for a while before I can go back to Lisbeth Salander and her dark yet thrilling world!