Author: Stieg Larsson
ISBN 978-1-84724-254-2 (English)
Publication date: 2005
Translated by: Reg Keeland
Harriet Vanger has been missing and presumed dead for 40 years. But then why does her great uncle, Henrik Vanger, still receive one framed flower every year on his birthday, from her?
Sweden may be the land of the midnight sun, blondes and the furniture manufacturers, Ikea, but Stieg Larsson’s book is anything but the pink picture painted by my opening line. “Män som hatar kvinnor” or “Men who hate women” (known as “The girl with the dragon tattoo”) is an intricate book that exposes the murky and horrific underbelly of the fictitious Vanger corporation where almost every character above 70 is a misogynist who resorts to incarcerating, raping and mutilating women as a release for their sadistic sexual tension.
The story follows disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist who has recently lost a libel case against one Wennerström corporation and takes on the Henrik Vanger’s offer of investigating the death or disappearance of his grand-niece, Harriet Vanger over 40 years ago.
Along the way his path crosses that of Lisbeth Salander, an asocial punk-type who also happens to be a brilliant hacker. As the unlikely duo team up to uncover the truth about Harriet Vanger’s death or disappearance, they also uncover the secretive, misogynistic and sadistic vile life of a member of the Vanger family.
It is very difficult to summarize the book without giving away all the intricate yet shocking details that would be revealed as one reads the book. The book itself isn’t a spectacular work of literature as obviously it has been translated from Swedish to English and literal translation always fails at several steps. Also, the beginning and the end of the books pale in comparison to the fast paced middle but are quite paramount (obviously!).
It is worth a read and I look forward to reading the second in the series “Flickan som lekte med elden” or “The girl who played with fire”.