Confession: It literally took me 7 years to finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’d picked it up after loving the Swedish film in 2009… but hadn’t been able to get through the first half.
For those unfamiliar with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it’s a complex story following a curmudgeonly private investigator and a disgraced business journalist. The two balance investigating a 50 year old missing persons case with uncovering details of a contemporary financial fraud. The two bring their ample personal issues to the table, yet make an unexpectedly productive team. If it seems as though there’s a lot going on, that’s because there is– The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is intricately woven and intelligently researched in a way unique to Scandinavian crime thrillers.
There’s something special about the stunning minimalist settings of Scandinavian crime films/shows/books. Nordic Noir is always smartly done, usually with some of the elements Americans have grown to love in shows such as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Thus, it wasn’t far fetched to think I’d like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I picked up the 16-hour audiobook after finding an online discount.
Sixteen. Hours. For audiobook aficionados, I’m sure that’s nothing. However, for someone who has only ever listened to short stories through the New Yorker’s podcast series, this resembled a commitment second to none except marriage. Long story (extremely long story) short, I found it so much more enjoyable as an audiobook. It was truly the happy medium between the film and the novel itself, and the perfect way to pass several days of work.
I can see why people have been so taken with the entirety of the Millennium Trilogy. However, it’s also quite easy to get bogged down in the minutiae. Without basic financial literacy, it’s difficult to enjoy a book is based upon investigating large Swedish corporations. From what I remember, the film glossed over much of this. At the very least, the format made the subject matter much easier to digest.
Over 16 hours later, I can report back that I’m happy to have finally summited Mount Dragon Tattoo. I might even be ready to see what Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist get up to in the rest of the series, as well. At the very least, I’ve been inspired to go back to watch the films, and even pull up some Wallander episodes.
That’s Lisbeth. She really might be insane. I’m going to start sending this gif to my boyfriend when he angers me.
If you’ve already read the series, tell me how you felt about them in the comments! What books took you forever to finish? How did you finally get through to the end? Let me know!