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The NEW Stieg Larsson thread!

Ladies and gentlebugs:

I have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was everything I'm not supposed to like: badly written, sometimes cheesy, gratuitously violent, and an international bestseller. Nevertheless, I really quite enjoyed it, and when I try to figure out why, I think I can break it down:

1. The Salander chick is just one big cliche on the surface: punk rocking cyber-terrorist with weird tattoos and mysterious past, lacking in social skills but brilliant at what she does. Yawn; and yet she's given this vulnerable side that you don't often see in such characters. Instead of being a kung-fu pro or something, she's physically vulnerable and has to rely on her mind to get things done; this is unlike most other super-heroine-type characters you find in fiction and movies, who are not only good with their brains but good with their swords.

2. The prose may be "pedestrian", but the book is certainly not trying to be anything other than a story, and the story, I think, is helped by the prose in this case. Larsson could have gone on and on describing the mysterious little town, giving us all the emotional subtleties that come with being a stranger in a strange land, etc, but because he was clearly not interested in that, he just wrote in a very straightforward, sometimes clumsy, manner. It worked for me. There's no aspiration here to create a work of art, and so the focus is all on the plot. This, for me, is far more interesting than some of the Stephen King books I've read, where the attempts to be literary undermine the book instead of helping it.

3. The whole book is incredibly immersive once the reporter dude gets to the little town. The family history is impressively detailed, and while I've read and heard complaints that a lot of it doesn't add anything to the story, I was pretty fascinated by it all. I even ended up laughing whenever Larsson tells us, for the twentieth time, that so-and-so had X kind of sandwich.

Sure, it's strange that the novel has sold I don't know how many dozens of millions of copies worldwide, considering its limitations, but I don't find it surprising that lots of people have enjoyed it. I did.