The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson has yet to really hook me. I am ten chapters in and I keep waiting for something to happen. I like the straightforward, simple writing (keeping in mind that this is a translation). I haven’t read any Nordic writers – with the exception of Henrik Ibsen, whose plays also demonstrate a simple, direct writing style that exposes social ironies. I wouldn’t call Larson’s use of voice ironic; he is straightfoward – a journalist just like Mikael Blomkvist. The story reads in a journalistic fashion. A bunch of really interesting facts about the Vangers, about Salander, about Swedish bureaucracy that I read and read and read to get to the end so I can start reading book two of the series The Girl Who Played with Fire which is the story I am actually interested in.
I am diligently reading because I enjoyed the movie so much that I am itching to know what happens next in Lisbeth Salander’s life. But, since I am a true book nerd, I am compelled to read the books, in order, instead of waiting for the next movie.
I convince myself that it’s really neat to come across moments in the novel that didn’t make it to the screen and ponder directorial choices. I tell myself that it’s great to know more about the characters and see them become three-dimensional in the novel. It doesn’t work. I’ve got the movie moving through my head as I read – I can’t make up my own Sweden because my imagination is saturated with Fincher’s vision of the novel. Oh well, fortunately, I don’t mind Fincher’s vision – certain shots showed off winter’s beauty and actually made it look appealing. This is from someone who unabashedly hibernates through the cold Canadian winter – winter activities? Only if sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine counts!
So, my main problem isn’t the book at all. It’s that I watched the movie first. It is an age-old argument: do you read the book first, or watch the movie. I’ve done both, and in either order, the book always ends up being better. However, in the past when I watched the movie first (say, Harry Potter), reading the book was enriched by the film.
In this case, I can’t seem to get through all the set up in the earlier chapters to get to the good stuff later on. I’m hesitant to say, that maybe, for the first time ever, I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I can’t be completely certain of this until I finish it – but, right now, it seems to be the case.
I hope I change my mind by the end of the novel.