Not looking for a fight, but I just finished reading it and don't get why everyone in the media, thinks it's so special. Last night my Read the Book - Watch the Movie book club discussed the book and watched the movie. As well as watching The Girl Who Played with Fire movie.
None of us could get into it - and we are a pretty adventurous reading group made up of both men and women and ages ranging from 25 to 90ish.
We all kept thinking that we were missing some cosmic point that everyone else got and we didn't. But I just didn't find the characters that interesting or the plotting that believable.
Please tell me what I didn't see.
The writing wasn't stellar. I enjoyed the story and thought it would make a good movie. Unfortunately the movie that is out now is swedish with subtitles and I don't enjoy watching movies with subtitles, I find it distracting. An American version of the movie is scheduled to come out, I believe this year and I'll probably go see that.
I haven't read it either. I do know the movie got some bad reviews.
Nooo, I think you should read it and tell me what you think of it. Lots of people apparently LOOOOOVED it.
I'm with you on this one Nelle, I actually finished the book last night. It took me two months to get through it. I can normally finish a book in a couple of days. I love reading, but this book had me stumped as to what all the hoopla was about!
Gypsy48 I agree, it was a total slog. Not only boring, but very loooong! The movie didn't wiz by either. And we watched both. The first one we listened to the Swedish and read the subtitles. The second one we decided to do the English version. It didn't help.
I watched the movie and liked it, but it was not one of the best. I can see how the book would have been a bit boring.
I assume what the draw is all about is how an abused young lady suffers so much, then turns the tables on her tormentors and comes out the winner in the end.
UW that's another loser. As well as his new one Freedom. My OTHER book club did Freedom last week. I don't know why all of the literary critics raved about it. And time magazine actually put him on the COVER! as the American novelist of the decade.
I just had this conversation with a friend about the latest Booker prize winning book being rubbish -
I would advise a bit of caution - when we don't understand the the 'new books' it may be because they are no good - OR it is just that we are getting too old to understand the NEW way of writing and why it wins prizes I have learned to keep silent until I have read somebody's analysis to see if I missed the 'trick'.
I don't think age has a thing to do with it. And I think that discussing books is one of the most fun things there is - especially when people have different view points. I belong to six book clubs and enjoy being up-to-date on the latest literary controversy.
It's interesting that you were discussing the Mann-Booker winners. Usually I can't get into them. I've been meaning to see who sits on the committee.
It isn't physical age I am talking about - it is the cultural direction. We have just got into what post-modern is all about but we are now post-post-modern or whatever it will come to be called when somebody analyses it well enough. We all have elements of all the phases, most of us still have a section of our thinking in the Romantic era. This new 'period' is something about emptiness and 'being over the chasm' with reality shredding beneath our feet - from what you say about this book it would appear to be in this area and we don't really understand the art of it yet ?
I have been trying to get my head around Chinese poetry and to 'get' it requires being somewhere that is not natural for a western reader. I am just beginning to get a handle on the first Chinese poem I read 4 years ago that goes something like -
The moon silvered the rippling waters
and the fisherman went home
The Mann-Booker awards are generally out there at the forefront and the winners are often hard to read at first.
I haven't seen the movie and I don't intend to. I am glad I am not the only one that didn't jump for joy for this one. Reading it was a chore!
aswsome we shold go and han out its 902--678-456 ok. not tricking well frostey the snowmans on. see ya
Well, I'm just about to read the Sentimentalists which won the Giller prize here in Canada. I'll see if it lives up to its hype.
UW One of the members of my one of my book clubs said they were enjoying it.
I read the trilogy and loved them - saw all the movies too. I think for many Americans they just can't relate to life in Europe and eastern bloc countries where many things are so very different than here. I don't think it was the manner of writing but the material that people can't relate to. If you've always lived a very comfortable middle-class life, or if you were taught to hide the grittiness of a lower-class life you were exposed to and pretend that didn't happen, then this book would have seemed way to outre for you. I can see that many people wouldn't relate to the main character who is a punk, computer hacking, rebel with a huge bunch of chips on her shoulder. The reality of it and the lack of hesitation to portray the abuse and fear and the torture that women all over the world endure when they are trapped into prostitute slavery - these are the things that made Lisbeth Salander who she is and were what caught me up in the story - I found it all very well done and the movies were faithful to the books although, as usual, they had to leave out some of the story. I would have preferred if the movies had included more of the secondary story about the Russian women imported to be prostitutes. The complexity of the characterization of Lisbeth was astoundingly real and true. Also the description of the places were excellent and the story really flowed. I was also ready to hear about Mikael Blomquist's type of journalism and see how risky it can be, but how necessary it is. These books were radical - if you are politically right of the left, you probably wouldn't see their value.
I wouldn't want to read gritty things like this or see movies like this all the time - but I do respect and admire writers and directors who are brave enough to bring these issues to our attention and don't pull their punches. The story was much, much better than the most American mystery writers I've read - much better research and characterizations. I'm sorry Steig Larsson isn't around anymore to keep writing.
We see so much empty glamourized violence in the movies and tv and books that are dealt out to us. Stories that revolve around greed and violence used by the "heroes" to get personal wealth pay someone back for violence done to their families and I find those stories boring and misleading. Steig Larsson never tries to glamourize violence or make any of his characters into role models for us - he just tells it like it is. Refreshing.
Couldn't say it better! Reading these 3 books was like a compulsive addiction... I too am very sorry not to have the oppourtunity to read more from SL.
Thanks, Mega. I read these reviews and felt like I read 3 different books. I'm politcally to the left though, and understand life is much different in Europe. Most movies with subtitles make me lose interest. I've never read a book and then liked the movie, nothing is as good as in your imagination. You need a somewhat warped sense of humor to enjoy Lisbeth, but her strength in the face of all that adversity is admirable. And I suspect Blomkvist is bases somewhat on the author's personality. The translation from the original Swedish was tough, even a paragraph that has the names of two Swedish people and the intersections where they are located is a really long paragraph. It takes guts to discuss sexual abuse, though it may not be what people want to be reading. They should stick to chick lit.
Thank you for that mega1. I think it was perhaps the European tone and pacing that was difficult for us. Punk computer hackers aren't that abnormaal for a bunch of people who hang out in Harvard Square and near MIT. And we are mostly very liberal.
There was just something about the style and character development that we didn't feel. We kept saying that we didn't "get Swedish" and that might be it. I normally like gritty. And I also definitely wouldn't characterize this as genre mystery.
There's a new bio of Larsson written by a friend of his that you might enjoy.
thanks nelle - yes, its not a mystery - but there is mystery involved in the story - I don't know how to classify it.
I know about the bio and I look forward to reading it soon.
I think I was drawn to these books because of the Dutch mystery writer - Van der Wettering? something like that - I've forgotten his actual name. Some years ago I was caught up in reading his books - two police - Sargent Gripstra and Inspector (something or other) and they solved mysteries that were very complex and at the same time the writer told you something about Dutch life and the characterizations of the police and victims and perpetrators were all exquisite - no other word for it. There was something of the same style in Larssons' books.
I enjoyed the books a lot - I thought that the writing style was not as "Tight" as it could have been, but I enjoyed the characters and the plot.
The movies did a pretty good job at sticking with the books.
Not one of my top 10 favorites, but I am glad I read them.
I just recently watched the movie and I really enjoyed it and I have the book to read but haven't started it yet
I enjoyed it and I'm reading the second one now. I love the character of Lisbeth, for me she's the best thing about the books.
The books aren't perfect at all, and I did think that both of the ones I've read started a bit slow and with too much background info. It makes me wonder whether the books were ever edited since Steig Larsson died before they were published? Maybe they kept them in their raw state so as not to offend his memory. I don't know, but that's been my impression.
Wow, I never considered the idea that the Larsson books may not have been edited. That makes sense. It did seem that there was alot of extra description and detail. The second two get harder, because there are more characters with those long Swedish names.
Jon Kellerman & his wife Faye both write crime fiction with reoccuring characters. Jon has a series about psychotherapist, Alex, who helps profile criminals for his police Detective friend, Milo. In Fayes' books, Peter is the Detective husband, married to an Orthodox Jewish woman who gives him insight on cases (and cool insights into Jewish religion). Both are based in CA. Stephen White also writes great suspense thrillers, from his perspective as a psychiatrist with patients that sometimes crossover into cases his detective friend Sam is trying to solve. I like characters I can read about again, and all 3 of these series are good reads.
Wow, it never occured to me that the books weren't completely edited. Now that I think of it, there was so much detail that could have been omitted. Great insight, Susana S.
Two other neat series of crime and suspense writers are Jon and Faye Kellerman, and Stephen White. Jon wrties about Alex, who is a psychotherapist that does criminal profiles for his Detective friend Milo. Faye writes about Detective Peter, who has a Jewish Orthodox wife Rina, who offers him great insight, and also helps us learn a great deal about her religion, a bonus. Stephen White is a psychiatrist who has patients who sometimes are criminals that his Detective friend Sam is trying to prosecute, but faces confidentiality issues.
Wow, wish you guys could've been at book club. We wanted to hear the other side. I'm going to print out this topic for next month.
I haven't read the books, but had considered adding them to reading list after watching two of the movies. I agree with Susana that Lisbeth and her characterization is the main draw. She strong, yet extremely fragile and the actress does a good job of protraying her. However, the the books are too detailed, I will probably take a pass on reading them.
I'm about halfway through the first book in the trilogy and it's excellent! At first it was a bit hard going, but it took off when Lisbeth's character entered the scene.
Just as well really because today's TV schedules are dire
If you like Larsson then I would definitely recommend Henning Mankell as well (he of the Wallander books).
Merry Christmas BTW.
Thanks for raising this question. I thought it was only me!! I read all three books and struggled to find what was so exceptional about them.
Maybe it was the translation into English but I found the writing stilted and difficult to get through. There were moments of great excitement when I couldn't put the book down but to get to them you needed to trudge through so much back story and trying to remember who was who!!
I also found the Lisbeth character very hard to relate to and like and it is difficult to believe so many women are falling over themselves to get into Blomkvist's bed so maybe that is why I struggled.
I have just recently finished reading “The Girl Who Played With Fire“, I was fascinated by the twist and turns in the plot. Lisbeth has so many dimensions. Mikael plays an excellent supporting character with all his vices. I liked how it tied into the first book. “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo“, I am looking forward to reading the next one. Using Sweden as the back drop, it makes for an extraordinary plot thickener with its use of geographical references and culture. I do understand why some may be turned off by some of the material, it’s a taboo in this country (US) to be so open with any topic related to sexual abuse or sexuality. Raising many issues including younger women being with older men, sexuality, acceptance of having many sexual partners with the lack of commitment and obeying or not obeying the law, while having high morals.
I also saw the first movie, as with any book made into a movie I found the book is more descriptive and gives you more details. Movies can’t always give a back ground that is need to capture the essence of the story. I am curious to see how the next movie will be?
Starting “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest” this weekend.
I enjoyed reading everyone’s point of view, cant wait to read and add some more.
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I saw Girl With the Dragon Tattoo yesterday - the American version - and I thought it was a good movie - maybe not quite as good as the Swedish one, but very true to the book, which I really loved. The only thing is - how real was that hacking? Especially the scene where they hack into...
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