Library book club was last night and I was actually able to make it (after missing two months in a row). They chose this book for discussion. I’d already read the book, but I didn’t remember anything about it and decided to read the book again.
Published: 2005 in Swedish, 2008 in English
Length: 590 pages
Setting: Sweden in the 2000s
Summary: See my original review
Final thoughts: I still wasn’t that impressed with the book. There was a lot of sexual violence in the book, at the level of “this is seriously disturbing.” Lisbeth definitely had an issue with guys who hurt women. She almost expected men to sexually molest her, like that was the normal relationship between men and women. But at the same time, she made sure they paid for their actions. And she had no intention of going to the police to get her payback. She was in it for personal revenge. Blomqvist was an enigma to her. Here’s this guy who’s interested in her, but doesn’t do anything about it. He doesn’t try to change her or push her or any of the usual things. She couldn’t handle him the way she did other guys because he didn’t make demands.
I think part of the reason I wasn’t too impressed with the book was because it is at least partly a mystery, and I’m never impressed with mysteries. Blomqvist was able to find out a lot of secrets about the Vanger family, and they were SERIOUSLY messed up. Not just your normal messed up, SERIOUSLY messed up. (Definitely not a child-appropriate book.) At book club, we decided it was because they were so powerful in the small community that they lived in that they could basically live out their worst fantasies. Why is it that powerful people all have awful fantasies and not helpful fantasies?
There were a couple of times we were confused because the book was translated from Swedish and we just didn’t have the cultural references. Blomqvist’s nickname of Kalle Blomqvist was an example. He was really annoyed by it, and none of us in book club really knew why. Several people in book club had read the book before and loved it so much they read the whole series. Apparently, the next two books provide more backstory on Lisbeth’s life. Rereading the book knowing her history made the book even more interesting. Even with people’s comments that the series just gets better, I don’t see myself reading the next book.
Title comes from: Lisbeth has a dragon tattoo on her back. The series seems to be about her, although this book is more about Blomqvist and she’s an accessory to his story.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #75 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
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