Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, 66/100

 Featured cover is a minimalist interpretation made by an artist at this blog. It uses the original Swedish title "Men Who Hate Women." Which is really a much more appropriate title.

Lisbeth Salander, the "girl with the dragon tattoo," is one of the protagonists. She shares equal page time with the other protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist. But the American publishers didn't call it "The Guy With a Grudge Against Corrupt Business Moguls." I understand it's not as flashy.

But all the focus on Salander's character in marketing the books, and the subsequent film adaptations, has been a bit disheartening. I've been trying to pin-point why I feel that way, but can't. Would the novels have been as popular without Lisbeth Salander's character? No, probably not. She's a fascinating character. So it makes sense that she would be the one publishers and producers push forward as the image for this series.

But maybe that's it. She's the "image." I have a knee-jerk reaction to seeing women used as images to advertise things.

I really enjoyed reading Stieg Larsson's first novel in the series. I plan on reading the other two in January. I was warned about disturbing scenes of sexual violence, but my god, after American Psycho they seemed fluffy in comparison. I don't think I can truly be disturbed ever again. I decided to finally jump on the bandwagon and read it after finding out David Fincher was directing the American film adaptation. You know Fincher, right?: The Social Network, Se7en, Fight Club? Yeah, I'm definitely going to see it. Of course Fincher has had his own share of criticism, particularly for his portrayal (and lack thereof) of women in The Social Network. Let's see how he handles a film with GIRL in the title.

For the 3-4 people out there who haven't read the first in the Millennium series (I used to be one of them!), here's the basic rundown: Mikael Blomkvist is a disgraced investigative journalist who's been hired by an eccentric millionaire to solve the case of his missing niece, who disappeared almost 40 years ago. When Blomkvist suspects the disappearance may have something to do with a string of violent murders, he recruits PI researcher Lisbeth Salander -- an extremely talented, asocial young woman with a history of sexual abuse in her past. She holds a personal vendetta against men who abuse women, and takes up the case for almost no money. What follows is what you'll read nearly 700 pages to find out: what exactly happened to Harriet Vanger 40 years ago?

My very first guess turned out to be the right one. Might I mention that my college roommate was obsessed with Law & Order so I was forced to watch it multiple times every day for about a year. I had ~90% accuracy guessing the killers. Stories are stories. They have to be set up a certain way for them to work. Unfortunately in real life crime solving I would probably be horrible.

*walks over to dead body, kneels down and runs a gloved finger over the sidewalk next to the victim, tastes the residue. "The nun did it," I say with absolute certainty.*

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