The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Book 1 of the Millennium Trilogy (Paperback)
Book 1 of the Millennium Trilogy
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 9780307454546, 608pp.
Publication Date: June 23, 2009
October 2008 Indie Next List
— Ann Carlson, Harborwalk Books, Georgetown, SC
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Indie Next List Highlights 2008
— Ann Carlson, Harborwalk Books, Georgetown, SC
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Fall '09/Winter '10 Reading Group List
— Elizabeth Jordan, Book People, Austin, TX
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About the Author
Praise For The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Book 1 of the Millennium Trilogy…
“Wildly suspenseful . . . an intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller.”—The Washington Post“Mesmerizing. . . . Imagine the movies of Ingmar Bergman crossed with Thomas Harris's novel The Silence of the Lambs.”—USA Today“Unique and fascinating. . . . It's like a blast of cold, fresh air to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”—Chicago Tribune“A super-smart amalgam of the corporate corruption tale, legal thriller and dysfunctional-family psychological suspense story.”—Fresh Air (NPR)“As vivid as bloodstains on snow—and a perfect one-volume introduction to the unique strengths of Scandinavian crime fiction.” —Lee Child“Combine the chilly Swedish backdrop and moody psychodrama of a Bergman movie with the grisly pyrotechnics of a serial-killer thriller, then add an angry punk heroine and a down-on-his-luck investigative journalist, and you have the ingredients of Stieg Larsson’s first novel.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times“A whip-smart heroine and a hunky guy who needs her help? This sexy, addictive thriller is everything you never knew you could get from a crime novel.”—Glamour“So much more than a thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a dazzling novel of big ideas. It tackles issues of power, corruption, justice, and innocence–all the while drawing you into the twists and turns of a frighteningly suspenseful mystery.”—Harlan Coben“An exceptional effort for a first-time crime novelist. In fact, a fine effort for any crime novelist . . . This book is meticulously plotted, beautifully paced, and features a cast of two indelible sleuths and many juicy suspects.”—Boston Globe“The book lands in the United States as Wall Street sputters and global markets clench, a timely fit to Larsson’s themes of corporate corruption. He tells his crime story cleverly, but the zing in Dragon Tattoo is inked in its two central characters.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer“Larsson’s novel could serve as the definition of page-turner . . . The worst part: We have to wait until summer ’09 for the second installment.”—Time Out New York“The biggest Swedish phenom since ABBA.”—People “Larsson’s debut thriller succeeds on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. First off, it’s an absolute page-turner. But the characters are so fascinating and the clear, understated writing so graceful, you are going to want to savor it . . . Electrifying.”—Portsmouth Herald (NH)“Is the hype justified? Yes . . . This complex, multilayered tale grabs the reader from the first page.”—Library Journal (starred)“The first U.S. appearance of another major Swedish crime writer is cause for celebration . . . The novel offers compelling chunks of investigative journalism, high-tech sleuthing, and psychosexual drama. What a shame that we only have three books in which to watch the charismatic Lisbeth Salander take on the world!”—Booklist“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a striking novel. Just when I was thinking there wasn't anything new on the horizon, along comes Stieg Larsson with this wonderfully unique story. I was completely absorbed.”—Michael Connelly“I doubt you will read a better book this year.”—Val McDermid“Dark, labyrinthine, smart, sexy, utterly original, and completely captivating, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo delights at every level. Nuanced, sympathetic characters, caught in a tangle of unusual and compelling relationships, grapple with a baffling family mystery and with their own demons in the unique literary environment of modern-day Sweden. This book is artful and grand entertainment. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.”—John Lescroart“As vivid as bloodstains on snow.”—Lee Child“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an utterly fresh political and journalistic thriller that is also intimate and moral. In spite of its dark unearthings Stieg Larsson has written a feast of a book, with central characters you will not forget.”—Michael Ondaatje“Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family’s remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller . . . At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden’s dirty not-so-little secrets, this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)“What a cracking novel! I haven’t read such a stunning thriller debut for years. The way Larsson interweaves his two stories had me in thrall from beginning to end. Brilliantly written and totally gripping.”—Minette Walters“With its compelling situation, its complex plot and especially its unique, fully-realized characters, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo embodies–in seamless translation–the best of European crime fiction.”—S.J. Rozan “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a Tolstoyan re-invention of the ‘closed room’ murder mystery, Agatha Christie for adults. Curl up on the sofa with this masterwork of noir and let Stieg Larsson draw you into the shadows. It’s also a profound investigation into tribal violence in the world of high finance, and a revelation of the dark side of a country normally seen as the very height of propriety. By the end of the first chapter you will know better. By the end of the second you will be putty in his hands. Don’t even think about putting it down.”—John BurdettFrom the UK:“Crime fiction has seldom needed to salute and mourn such a stellar talent as Larsson’s in the same breath.”—The Sunday Times “Larsson has up his sleeve two extremely engaging protagonists. Once these characters have appeared, our surrender to the novel is guaranteed . . . This is classic English mystery territory. But what follows is much darker and bloodier–more Thomas Harris than Dorothy L. Sayers.”—The Independent“The ballyhoo is fully justified . . . The novel scores on every front–character, story, atmosphere, and the translation.” —The Times“This is a striking novel, full of passion, an evocative sense of place and subtle insights into venal, corrupt minds . . . The journalist and the hacker are ingenious creations.”—The Observer“One of the greatest crime-fiction novels I have ever read . . . As mesmerizing as it is insightful . . . The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a multi-layered, multi-character tale by a writer of some considerable power. Full of social conscience and compassion, with insight into the nature of moral corruption, it knocked me out . . . Mikael Blomkvist and his partner, the enigmatic and deeply troubled Lisbeth Salander, will soon join the pantheon of greatest crime-fiction characters that populate the genre at its apex.”—Shots Magazine“A blockbuster story . . . The plot is interesting and credible but above all the heroine is splendidly original . . . An extraordinary book.”—Literary Review “An absorbing and idiosyncratic crime novel.”—Daily Mail
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- Who do you consider the novel's protagonist, Lisbeth or Mikael? Why?
- What point was Larsson trying to make with the themes running through this novel? How do issues such as violence against women, journalistic integrity, and more general notions of trust tie in with each other throughout the book?
- What function do the sex-crime statistics on each section's title page serve?
- Reread the passage from Mikael's book on page 103. What is its significance in terms of the plot?
- On page 156, Henrik tells Mikael, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength --- even if you no longer need to strike back." Over the course of the novel, who puts this advice to the best use? How, and why?
- How does the involvement of several Vanger brothers with Swedish fascist groups cloud Mikael's investigation into Harriet's disappearance? What role does Harald play?
- Why does Henrik become an investor in Millennium? Does his plan succeed?
- Discuss the character of Lisbeth. Some think she is a "perfect victim" (p. 409), others find her intimidating, and Mikael wonders if she has Asperger's, but the reader is allowed to see exactly how her mind works. How do you see her? How do you think she sees herself?
- What do you think about the way Lisbeth turns the tables on Bjurman? Is it admirable, or a sign that she's unstable?
- On page 254, Lisbeth says her new tattoo is "a reminder." Of what?
- Several times in the novel, Mikael's journalistic ethics are challenged. Do you consider him to be ethical? In your opinion, is anyone in the novel truly honorable? If so, why?
- After reserving judgment for most of his investigation, Mikael determines that Harriet was, in fact, murdered and that he's hunting for a killer. What prompts this decision? How does this affect the rest of his investigation?
- Discuss the role of parents in the novel. Who is a good parent, and why? How might Harriet's story have changed if her mother had behaved differently? What about Lisbeth's? Is Mikael a good father?
- Blackmail is used several times in the novel, for different ends. Who uses it most effectively, and why?
- On page 507, Mikael tells Lisbeth that to him, friendship requires mutual respect and trust. By those standards, who in this novel is a good friend? Is Mikael? What about Anita?
- Discuss Henrik's request that Mikael never publish the Vanger story. Is it a reasonable request? Does Mikael's acquiescence change your opinion of him? Do Lisbeth's demands mitigate his ethical breach?
- What ultimately drives Lisbeth to take action against Wennerström on her own? Does she go too far?
- Reread Mikael's statement about the media's responsibility at the top of page 575. Can you think of a situation in the American media that is analogous to the Wennerström affair?
- Discuss the ending. Was it satisfying to you? Why or why not?