Stieg Larsson’s first book of the Millennium trilogy “the girl with the dragon tattoo” was discussed. While it is undeniably enthralling and extremely popular ( in best seller lists and top download from Amazon ) there were mixed feelings.
The eponymous girl, Lisbeth Salander, seems so remarkable that her character stretches credulity to the limit. The other main character Mikael Blomkvist is closely modelled on Larsson himself. A TV documentary on Nordic crime writers on December 10 pointed out how closely Larsson followed a trend set by earlier writers with a left wing viewpoint. Larsson’s book is really a sort of double plot but one is very concerned with Nazi style political groups in Sweden protected by Swedish Secret service. This is either exaggerated or not known outside the country.
Larsson is himself an investigative journalist on a small magazine like Millennium. Supposedly one of his objectives is exposing violence against women. Lisbeth Salander suffers the most extreme violence and humiliation as the trilogy progresses. There is a fine line between exposing the violence and describing it in prurient detail and it is arguable that line is overstepped.
Irritation was expressed that again, as so often in modern books, mysterious use is made of internet technology to advance the plot. One member who found this acceptable commented that the great detail about other aspects of IT used by Mikael Blomkvist was irritating.
It was agreed that tempo of the book was a little surprising appearing to peak part way through. Maybe this would be less strange viewing the trilogy as a whole rather than just this first book.