” But Blomkvist was beginning to see that Harriet’s fate had played a central role in the family, and especially for Henrik Vanger. No matter whether he was right or wrong, Vanger’s accusation against his relatives was of great significance in the family history. The accusation had been aired openly for more than thirty years, and it had colored the family gatherings and given rise to poisonous animosities that had contributed to destabilising the corporation. ” [9:184]
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo consists of two tightly woven plots of which the connection hinges on a Swedish journalist Mikael Blomvkist, who publishes a calumnous attack about a powerful financier and is sentenced to jail, fined a ruinous sum. His career is torn to shreds. He has resigned from his position as a publisher of the magazine Millennium more or less in disgrace. His only hope is the fulfillment of a strange assignment from an industrialist, Henrik Vanger, who hires him to write the history of the Vanger family as a pretext to investigate the disappearance of his then 14-year-old grand-niece, Harriet Vanger.
Whether he might light upon Harriet’s killer or not, the aging tycoon, agonized by the unsolved case for 36 years, promises to rebuild the journalist’s career and rescue the magazine. Blomkvist is aided by Lisbeth Salander, the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy who contributes to the title of the book. A social outcast who survives abuse in all forms, the anorexic-looking girl can discern patterns in things ordinary people miss and uses photographic memory to accomplish her goals.
The fact that he was going to be reinstated as publisher emphasised that Millennium felt it had nothing to be ashamed of. In the eyes of the public, credibility was no problem—everyone loves a conspiracy theory, and in the choice between a filthy rich businessman and an outspoken and charming editor in chief, it was not hard to guess where the public’s sympathies would lie. [14:293]
From a cold case in which police failed to prove that a murder had been committed, the duo uncovers new leads in the form of overlooked photographs and date book entries. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo does not intrigue readers with twists and turns galore, but proceeds like peeling the layers of an onion, insinuating the labyrinth of secrets covered by one another. At one point the novel leads one to believe that the victim fell prey to a religious cult that clothes its atrocious actions with the parody of biblical quotations. Wild imagination and suggestion of evidence also lead to the conclusion of a serial killer. Every member of the Vanger family answers the call of suspicion, consider that a continuous animosity has existed over the years. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lives up to its hype with its finely crafted plot, fully enriched by evidence and humanity of the characters. It shows how human interaction is almost always more trouble than it is worth, as the duo unveils shocking evidence of violence, physical and sexual, against women. The book is fulfilling in many levels, given that appearances in one case has pointed one way while the truth all the while unsuspected in another direction. This novel mainly focuses on Mikael Blomkvist’s revenge; Lisbeth Salander, being the eclectic and engaging character she is, shall deserve the spotlight in upcoming installments.
644 pp. Mass Paperback. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]