The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I know that quite a lot of people across the world are familiar with Lisabet Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, both through the books and the film adaptations. I’m definitely behind the times, to be posting this review right now, but I’ll do it anyway.
It’s in part inspired by the fact that the fourth book has been released, and the fact that I found it to be a disappointment. I attempted to read the fourth book several times, and did not get any further than the first few pages. I don’t know whether it was anything to do with it being badly written, as I don’t remember anything that occurred. In part I feel that it was simply because I didn’t believe that anyone else could quite do the characters justice, after Larsson’s death.
I think that this book is extraordinary. I know that Larsson was reported as saying that he based Lisabet on his idea of what Pippi Longstocking would have been as a adult, but as I’ve never read those books, she stands alone as one of the most original characters I have come across in a long time. She and Bussi’s creation Malvina stand out in my imagination, but unlike Malvina I feel a deep sense of sympathy and empathy for Lisabet.
That is testament to the power of Larsson’s writing, as my own life bears no relation to Lisabet’s, thankfully given the amount of emotional and physical trauma she endures throughout the trilogy.
The relationship between her and her first guardian, Holgar Palmgren is one of the few light spots for Lisabet, particularly in the first novel of the trilogy. I found him endearing, and he is written as genuinely caring about and respecting Lisabet. The affection is reciprocated, and makes for a sharp contrast when compared with her relationship with his replacement, once Palmgren is seen suffering a stroke.
I found it difficult to read certain passages where Lisabet is interacting with the second legal guardian, as he abuses his power in a appalling way numerous times. Although a part of me did recoil from the way that she gets her revenge, a part of me was also pleased that he didn’t get away with such horrific crimes.
The overarching mystery, that of what happened to Harriet Vanger wasn’t something that I was able to untangle, and the eventual conclusion was in my opinion a little frustrating. It was however realistic, as not every criminal is punished by the courts, obviously.