Sunday, November 16, 2008

A book to avoid

This was one of those books where I read the reviews and thought, hmmm, interesting, and then was looking for something meatily populist to round out my 3 for the price of 2 offer at Waterstones. So I picked up Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and here I am, several days later wondering why I finished it, why it had rave reviews and how on earth anyone, even an Aussie, could even conceive of a single positive sentence featuring both War and Peace and Dragon Tattoo.

It's mean to pick on an author who is tragically and relatively youthfully dead, but when the Swedes sorting through Stieg Larsson's stuff after his heart attack came across three thick fat and unpublished manuscripts, I think it would have been kinder to Larsson's memory and the world if they'd not taken them to a publisher desperate for something to fill the schedules until the next Wallender novel.

Spoilers henceforth:

Plot/Themes: usual sexual violence/abuse/rape serial killer stuff along with corporate shenanigans and neo-Nazism corrupting Sweden from within.
Characterisation: hero is placeholder for author (shaggy, somewhat fit financial journalist, serial shagger), heroine, a sort of Boho wet dream girl-woman with Aspergers and an unusual interest in the inner workings of the iBook.
Style: euruuuughghghghghg. Translator should be shot for mistmatched idioms and clunkiness of Mount Rushmore proportions. There's a whodunnit for you - who killed the translator....Unless he was just working with what he had, in which case, hoo boy, it was lame.
Form and structure: Dual plot-lines for hero and heroine until they meld uneasily about 2/3 of the way in.

I am not going to waste any more of your or my time on this book - just trust me, it doesn't live up to they hype.

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