Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Buggered if I know why this was so popular. I fear I've been sold a pup.

I'm on page 86 and it has only just got to the main plot point on the blurb. It's not looking good. I know it's translated but this is some of the clumsiest writing I've read in ages. Clunking great paragraphs of exposition. Show, not tell, remember? Too many characters, thin characterisation, plot jumping all over the place, taking ages to get going, no ear for dialogue, waiting for the "thrill" part of the thriller to kick in - I'm giving it to the end of the chapter and if I'm still not hooked it goes straight onto the tube. Which is annoying as I bought it new and you just know it will end up filling the charity shops in a month or so. Feel cheated.

Unless you persuade me to stick with it. Did you read it and like it?


  1. I enjoyed the first and second ones.

    But I'd be the last one to say if you're not enjoying it you should plough on. The writing doesn't suddenly get better.

    The third one is awful.

  2. I like a good thriller, Geoff, but this ain't. I recommend Christopher Brookmyre, he's a million times more entertaining, and funny too.

  3. Totally agree. Larsson's prose, plotting and one dimensional characterisation are more or less on a par with Dan Brown's - which may well explain his success but I'm buggered if I can see why.

  4. It's endearingly amateurish, right down to the "Oh man, you gotta check this out!" product placement. But yeah, there's much better you could be reading.

  5. Thanks Ian, I thought I must be mistaken or mad, because I'd heard that it was brilliant.

    Emordino, that must have been some good marketing then, because it has a kind of clever, literary reputation.

  6. I've read the first two and am not in any great hurry to get to the last one. They're alright, though the product placement and unnecessary detailing go beyond belief at times. I thnk the general consensus is that the action in the first one picks up a lot after the first 100 pages or so, so maybe give it that much and then ditch immediately if you're still feeling nothing. Someone will no doubt be chuffed to pick it up on the tube.

    Tell me, have you had any emails or comments from people who've picked your books up? People are monumentally lazy, they've probably enjoyed what you've left and then thought "Yeah, I'll get round to emailing that nice lady one of these days..."

  7. I read them all, curious how the melodrama would play in a lightweight form (the genre isn't lightweight - just his handling of it. All very uneven - from the smug sexual habits of the journalist characters to the sexual torture of the 'heroine'. All that Ikea shopping! Part 3 takes about 100 pages to start up, so I don't think you should go there.
    The sections that were fun to read I'd describe as good page-turners. But he's at the bottom of the league of the Scandinavians. Per Wahloo/Maj Sjowal and Karin Fossum are the tops.

  8. I plodded through this as it was the book chosen for our reading group. Tookages to 'get into' it but found it very unrealisitc and won't be rushing to read the other books.

    Have yu read any of Susan Hill's Simon Seraillier crime fiction? I borrow these from the library but enjoy them more than Larsson.

    Regards, PixieMum

  9. Hi PixieMum - I haven't read any of Susan Hill's crime novels, I didn't know she wrote crime, but I liked I'm the King of the Castle.

  10. Not only are they crime novels, but there are a wider family, church, and medical theme running through so they need to be read in order.

    Susan Hill has a blog on the Spectator webpage too, am full of admiration for some one who researches, writes, has a publishing business and a family life. She has a blog on the Spectator website too.

    REgards, PixieMum aka Madeleine