Financial journalist and publisher Mikael Blomkvist has always enjoyed a successful career, until now. After publishing potentially damaging information about businessman Hans-Erik Wennerstrom he finds himself sued for libel with his reputation in tatters.
When approached by once successful but now ageing businessman Henrik Vanger to spend a sabbatical in the country writing his family autobiography Blomkvist decides reluctantly to take on the self-imposed exile.
His friends and colleagues fear he is wasting time and avoiding reality but behind the facade of writing an innocent family portrait Blomkvist is secretly charged with investigating the suspected murder of Harriet Vanger.
Over thirty years ago Henrik Vanger’s beloved niece Harriet disappeared without a trace at a family gathering. Convinced that she has being murdered Vanger has never truly gotten over his loss and now wants one last stab at uncovering the mystery.
Blomkvist is doubtful that he will ever uncover new material but he soon becomes helplessly embroiled and fascinated by the mystery of Harriet Vanger and her families murky past.
But when he encounters talented hacker and skilled private investigator Lisbeth Salander the impossible suddenly seems possible. Can Mikael solve the Vagner mystery? And are they hunting for a one-time murderer or a serial killer?
Despite a slightly slow start to the book I soon found myself enthralled by the story and couldn’t put it down. The plot alone was enough to ensure my attention but the addition of Lisbeth Salander and her complex character added another dimension to the book which will be hard toforget.
On first impressions Lisbeth is a sulky, rebellious young women. Excessive facial piercings coupled with explicit tattoo’s and a detached hostile attitude instantly turn people off and categorise her as trouble. But deeper under the surface Larsson has created one of the most complex and intriguing characters I’ve encountered for a long time.
The strong and independent image that she tries in vain to portray secretly hides a more vulnerable and naive young woman.
Larson seems to encapsulate in Lisbeth the susceptibility and weakness of many Swedish woman whose disadvantageous in life have left them disposed to the ignorant attitudes of society and in Lisbeth’s case the sadistic cruelty of some power abusing men.
He also explores the Swedish attitude to mental health and the dangerous world of guardianship. All this is one book? It’s no wonder then that the book is so chunky! But despite it’s size I never wanted the book to end and I now can’t wait to start the next two novels.
So who has read the book or seen the film? Do you like or loath them? Do you feel that Larsson accurately portrays the mistreatment of women? Or do you agree with other opinions that despite Larsson’s best efforts his writing is in parts sexist? The floor is open and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.