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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005)

by Stieg Larsson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Millennium Trilogy (1), Millenium Trilogie (1), Millennium (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
36,016161236 (4.02)1 / 904
The disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden, gnaws at her octogenarian uncle, Henrik Vanger. He is determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. He hires crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, recently at the wrong end of a libel case, to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance. Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old, pierced, tattooed genius hacker, possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age--and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness--assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, an astonishing corruption at the highest echelon of Swedish industrialism--and a surprising connection between themselves.--From publisher description.… (more)
  1. 322
    Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg (taz_)
    taz_: Charm school drop-outs Lisbeth Salander of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and Smilla Qaaviqaaq Jaspersen of "Smilla's Sense of Snow" strike me as unconventional soul sisters of the detective mystery. Each haunted by demons of the past, fiercely independent, armored in cynicism and misanthropy, they share a certain psychic landscape and brilliant, icy resourcefulness. If you love one, I predict you'll love the other.… (more)
  2. 92
    Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (Ronoc, Ronoc)
  3. 93
    Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason (ansate, ANeumann)
  4. 60
    Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: I think Lisbeth and Mallory have a lot in common.
  5. 51
    The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indriðason (ansate)
  6. 51
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (BillPilgrim)
    BillPilgrim: Another kick-ass female heroine
  7. 40
    The Informationist by Taylor Stevens (aliklein)
  8. 30
    The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: It's mentioned in the book and it's another great thriller.
  9. 119
    Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (MyriadBooks, mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Let the Right One In is a Swedish novel about a child vampire who just wants to be a normal kid, the pedophile who is obsessed with her, and the neighbor boy who wants to befriend her.
  10. 31
    A Place of Execution by Val McDermid (adithyajones)
  11. 20
    Blue Belle by Andrew Vachss (birder4106)
    birder4106: Burke (Vacchs) und Salander (Larsson) haben sehr viel gemeinsam.
  12. 53
    Child of the Hive by Jessica Meats (EllieM)
    EllieM: Are you wondering 'what next?' after reading the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? I recommend that you try Child of The Hive by Jessica Meats. Both books are plot driven action packed thrillers with a rather unexpected heroine. Like Lisbeth Salander, Child of the Hive's Sophie is a highly intelligent computer geek. Someone you would not necessarily choose as a best friend but you grow fond of her as the story progresses. Stieg Larsson's blockbuster is a more traditional 'whodunnit' and the main plot puzzle is the identity of the murderer. Jessica Meats writes in a slightly a different genre, Child of The Hive is a speculative thriller on the borders of science fiction, and as such it presents different puzzles. For example a moral one, exactly which sub group should I classify as 'the bad guys'? As for guessing the ending, most people will not see where the book is going. I failed. But the surprising nature of the story is much of its fun. With the benefit of hindsight you can see that the climax of 'Child' is tidy and satisfactory. Certainly not one of those annoying thrillers with a plot balanced on one very unlikely clue which has been carefully draped in numerous red herrings. Both books should appeal to a wide range of readers, but I suggest Child of the Hive is also more suitable for a slightly younger group than The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which is distinctly adult in places. Child of The Hive is a really ‘good read’, I give it 5 stars out of five… (more)
  13. 10
    The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy (5hrdrive)
  14. 21
    The Crow Road by Iain Banks (Anonymous user)
  15. 21
    Sun Storm by Åsa Larsson (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Wellwritten crimestories set in Sweden with female protagonists.
  16. 32
    The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell (Ronoc)
  17. 65
    The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg (Patangel)
  18. 11
    The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook (adithyajones)
  19. 22
    The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard (sweetiegherkin)
  20. 11
    California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker (adithyajones)

(see all 47 recommendations)


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English (1,465)  Dutch (33)  Spanish (26)  German (14)  French (14)  Italian (13)  Swedish (13)  Danish (11)  Catalan (11)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (1,610)
Showing 1-5 of 1465 (next | show all)
Incredibly complex, with multiple intertwining storylines and characters making the book become a throughly bewitching spiderweb. Addicting like no other, 10/10 would recommend for a long, deep read. ( )
  carrotchimera | Jun 29, 2020 |
Excellent read! Can't believe it took me so long to get to.

Blomkvist, a financial publisher with integrity is incriminated in a libel case against a very wealthy and successful, and oh yes, nasty businessman. To get away from the public and to protect Millenium, the company he and 2 others own and run, he agrees to write a biography on the Vanger family, a wealthy, successful business conglomerate. He also consents to try to learn what happened to young Harriet Vanger who went missing 36 years ago.

He is organized and methodical; reads hundreds of pages of files, documents, news articles, police reports, looks through photos, interviews family members, and asks many questions. He finds the large Vanger family intriguing and a significant part of what he learns is disturbing. He's impressed with the thorough police investigation of Harriet's disappearance and feels his efforts have hit a brick wall.

He needs to serve prison time for a number of months, doesn't find it awful. Released early. he returns to Hedestad to continue his projects. When his teen daughter visits and mentions something about the bible that he gets that light bulb moment. It opens up unexplored possibilities into a code of letters and numbers Harriet had written in a diary. Blomkvist is able to contect the numbers to bible passages. But what do the letters refer to? Recalling his interview with Detective Superintendent Morell who in passing mentioned another case about a woman, Rebecka, who had been raped and murdered years before Harriet was born. He realizes he needs a researcher to look into previous crimes against women to match against Harriet's list.

He learns about the young woman, Lisbeth Salander who has been researching him, and finds out she had been hacking his computer! He confronts her in a friendly way, and asks for her help to work as his researcher on this latest part of his project. He brings her up to speed, and tells her he needs more information about crimes against women that match Harriet's notes.

From that point on the novel is fast-paced, action packed, and full of dangers and surprises.

Absolutely, a wonderful well-executed mystery plus more.
  Bookish59 | Jun 24, 2020 |
This book is amazing! It has so many more layers than I was expecting going into it. I could not put the book down and loved all the unexpected things that went down. I loved the characters and the focus on violence towards women was eye opening. ( )
  InfiniteWolves | Jun 23, 2020 |
I thought this book was a giant pile of crap for the most part...and yet...I find myself strangely drawn to read the next book in the series. What is wrong with me? (It's either masochism or desperation, and there is no shortage of good books out there to read, so it must be masochism. That is the perverse power of this awful book. It makes you feel gross and yet disturbingly intrigued.) ( )
  gleipnir | Jun 20, 2020 |

PS: I hadn't realised until I finished reading the legal arguments being prepared for Assange that his defence is now headed by no less than Geoffrey Robertson. If you ask me, that should be enough to make grown-up countries quake in their boots.

12/1 update:

Those following the Swedish attempt to extradite Assange should take a look at this:

http://www.fsilaw.com/~/media/Files/Assange Skeleton Argument 11_01_2011.ashx

It is the 35 page skeleton argument just lodged by his lawyers in the UK prior to the extradition hearing being held early in February.


Thanks, Randall

11 Dec update: I can't resist showing you Dilbert's Blog:

Here's a list of three things that you are unlikely to do, at least in this order:

1. Watch a Swedish movie called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
2. Read about the Swedish sex charges against Julian Assange
3. Book a vacation to Sweden

I am always amused by the strange impact of unintended consequences. Julian Assange simply wanted to release some embarrassing information, have hot sex with a Swedish babe then have hot sex with an acquaintance of that same babe one day later. That's just one example of why the Swedish language has 400 words that all mean "and your cute friend is next."

But things didn't turn out as Assange hoped. The unintended consequence of his actions is that he managed to make Sweden look like a country that's governed by congenital idiots and populated with nothing but crazy sluts and lawyers. And don't get me started about the quality of their condoms.

To be fair, I don't know if Assange's alleged broken condom is because the product was defective. We have good evidence that Assange has the world's biggest set of nuts, so assuming some degree of proportionality, he'd put a strain on any brand of condom that didn't have rebar ribs.

Assange had a lot of help making Sweden look like the last place on Earth that you would want to take your penis. The aforementioned megahit movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, makes the place look like a snow-filled ass cave that Jeffrey Dahmer lived in before he got a raise. (It's a good movie otherwise.)

If you haven't read any background about the so-called rape charges against Assange, you really should. Apparently Swedish laws are unique. If you have a penis, you're half a rapist before you even get through customs. And if your condom breaks, that's jail time. What I'm saying is that the Club Med in Sweden is a nervous place.

I was having a hard time making up my mind about Assange. On one hand, he might be hurting the interests of my country and putting people in danger. Death to him! On the other hand, a little extra government transparency might prevent more problems than it causes. Hero! It was a toss-up. Then Sweden turned Assange from a man-whore publicity hound into Gandhi. Advantage: Assange.

The one thing I know for sure is that I'm a fan of the hackers who are dispensing vigilante justice. Here's another unintended consequence: The hackers could end up organizing over this issue and ultimately forming a shadow government of their own, if they haven't already. I welcome my hacker overlords.

Prediction: The governments of the world can't let Assange become a martyr. He would be too powerful. They'll pressure Sweden to release him on some sort of technicality.


29/11/10 Update: Oh. I have to rethink something that irked me about this book. The author heads each chapter with a statistic about violence against women in Sweden. I didn't understand the point then, other than the idea that it was like his graphic sexual descriptions: to titillate. But suddenly the light has been turned on.

I have just discovered that although Sweden's public image is a State intent upon gender equality, and you hear all the time about how wonderful it is, in private this is anything but so. In particular domestic violence is a terrible problem and doing anything about it even worse.

NYT 2005:

But there is one significant blot on the record of women's empowerment here: domestic violence, a crime that until recently remained muffled in shame. Swedish men are not any more violent toward women in Sweden than the men of most other West European countries are toward their countrywomen. It has simply been easier for them to get away with violence against wives and girlfriends, experts and politicians said, and harder for women to get the help they need. Attitudes about wife-beating have been slow to change, they say.

In an unforeseen twist, Sweden's well-guarded sense of privacy and its leadership on women's rights served for many years to mute, rather than elevate, the issue into the public sphere. Rather than boldly tackle the pattern of violence, many people in Sweden took a different approach: they dismissed it as the sort of thing that happens somewhere else and to someone else.

"The equality thing put a wet blanket over the issue," said Eva Hassel Calais, assistant to the chairwoman of the National Organization for Women's Shelters.


"We've had to change our picture of ourselves in Sweden" said Maria Carlshamre, a former television journalist, who acknowledged last summer to viewers - against the station's wishes - that her husband had abused her for a decade. "We are not the gender equality champions of the world."

How fascinating. My cursory impression is that things aren't better since this report, but I'm still looking for information.

At the time what I didn't really understand about Larsson making this a theme is that his statistics were scarcely surprising. But I can now see that they would have been news to SWEDISH readers, since women are happy to pretend to look equal to the world outside but put up with anything but when they closed their door at home. Larsson was making Swedish women stare at themselves in print.

You live and learn.


What a pot-boiling, page-turning, ripping good yarn.

Evidently I will not be the first to say that if you are tested by the first 150 pages or so, stick to it, I don’t know if I could say why, but do.

And it’s a ripping good yarn with a moral. You can’t let being bullied or abused be an excuse for not doing the right thing. It’s the hardest thing in the world to admit, when you are being bullied or abused, that you can do something about it, that you are exercising a choice here. To become an abuser or bully of others because that is what’s happening to you is inexcusable. This moral probably won’t mean anything much to you unless you have both been in an abusive relationship and recognise that you have.

Having, to my ever lasting discredit, not fought hard enough for people and things I loved when I have been in such relationships, I have to say Salander is 100% right. She's the character who brings this moral to the story, a character who irritated me greatly to begin with. She's so much like a formula of looks and accoutrements, but if you get over that you are left with a girl it is hard not to love. She even does one of the things that irks me as much as anything in popular media – young girl shagging old man – and makes it believable. I found my reading prejudices being shed every time I turned a page.

I have to add this, having just finished The Conqueror as well.

And I suddenly wonder if I’ve been reading too much intellectual pretension; or it turns out Norwegians are different from Swedes and I try to remember the difference between their bridge players, and I remember only that I fancy going to bed with the Swedes but not the Norwegians; and I wonder yet again what is good writing and what is bad, and if it is so that 12 million flies can’t be wrong. Can’t be.

The Conqueror pp 457-458 of the English edition

And now…Jonas was lying with his nose pressed into the mattress of one of the bunks, with Gabriel on top of him, puffing and panting. He was drunk but lucid enough to feel like a puppet, with a big hand stuck up inside him.

He turned his head to the side, to scream, to say something, but still could not utter a sound, nor did he want to; instead his eye fell on a glass standing on a small table next to the bunk, he saw the false teeth lying in it, caught the glint of a gold tooth, but still it took a few seconds for him to connect this with Gabriel, for him to realise that even the man’s teeth were false. And as Gabriel took him harder and harder, driving into him, uncontrollably, groaning, Jonas saw the gnashers cackling at him from the glass, as if they were laughing at his naivety, at how easily he had allowed himself to be hoodwinked.

And yet, in the midst of this humiliation, or act of atonement, or pleasure, or reparation, or liberation, or whatever it was – maybe he was quite simply being put to the test – the glass reminded Jonas that Gabriel had also stressed the important of willpower, the need for reckless defiance….

Yes, it was true. He lay with the sour smell of the mattress in his nose, proving it now. Unless it was Gabriel who was demonstrating it to him now. Showing him that he could stand it, this penetration that went beyond the tentacles of words….

Jonas was left lying there, feeling sure that he was going to die; but gradually he felt the pain give way to a pleasant warmth and a realisation that, for some minutes he had been bounded in a nutshell but was now a king of infinite space.

And here p. 224 of my edition of The Girl...

Shit, she thought when he ripped up her T-shirt. She realised with terrifying clarity that she was out of her depth.

She heard him open the dresser drawer next to the bed and caught the clanking sound of metal. At first she did not understand what was happening; then she saw the handcuffs close around her wrist. He pulled up her arm, placed the handcuffs around one of the bedposts, and locked her other hand. It did not take him long to pull off her boots and jeans. Then he took off her knickers and held them in his hand….

‘So you don’t like anal sex,’ he said.

Salander opened her mouth to scream. He grabbed her hair and stuffed the knickers in her mouth. She felt him putting something around her ankles, spread her legs apart and tie them so that she was lying there completely vulnerable. She heard him moving around the room but she could not see through the T-shirt around her face. It took him several minutes. She could hardly breathe. Then she felt an excruciating pain as he forced something up her anus.

What does it mean that Larsson leaves you feeling raped, while Kjaerstad leaves you feeling like, I dunno….it’s a job interview for a writing position.
What I would like to know is whether Kjaerstad is leaving the reader totally disengaged on purpose?

I might also add at this point, straightforward rape is no longer sexually titillating enough to be used, it has to be anal. But what happens when, as soon it will be the case, we yawn at that? Where will Larsson and Kjaerstad go then?

PS: Ah, I did find out where you go to when anal rape becomes ho-hum. Wildlife shoved into vaginas. Of course.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 1465 (next | show all)
added by grimm | editRomans et Lectures, Calepin (Sep 9, 2009)
[Richman reviews several Scandinavian novels, including Larsson's.]

Why have readers taken to these writers? The novels are not formally innovative: With a few exceptions, these are straightforward whodunits, hewing closely to conventional models from the English tradition. Nor does their appeal depend on a "relentlessly bleak view of the world," as a writer for the London Times has put it. Bleak worldviews are not particularly hard to come by in crime novels, no matter what country they come from.

What distinguishes these books is not some element of Nordic grimness but their evocation of an almost sublime tranquility. When a crime occurs, it is shocking exactly because it disrupts a world that, at least to an American reader, seems utopian in its peacefulness, happiness, and orderliness.
added by elenchus | editSlate.com, Nathanial Rich (Jul 8, 2009)
It’s Mr. Larsson’s two protagonists — Carl Mikael Blomkvist, a reporter filling the role of detective, and his sidekick, Lisbeth Salander, a k a the girl with the dragon tattoo — who make this novel more than your run-of-the-mill mystery: they’re both compelling, conflicted, complicated people, idiosyncratic in the extreme, and interesting enough to compensate for the plot mechanics, which seize up as the book nears its unsatisfying conclusion.
The novel offers a thoroughly ugly view of human nature, especially when it comes to the way Swedish men treat Swedish women. In Larsson’s world, sadism, murder and suicide are commonplace — as is lots of casual sex. (Sweden isn’t all bad.)
The first-time author's excitement at his creation is palpable, strangely, in the book's sometimes amateurish construction. There are frequent long digressions in this big book (more than 500 pages) in which he laboriously fills in back-story details. Then there is the Vanger family; what might have seemed like a bit of fun gets out of hand as easily more than 20 people with the surname Vanger are mixed into the story. To his credit, though, he always regains control and restores momentum.
added by Shortride | editThe Age, Jeff Glorfeld (Mar 17, 2008)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larsson, Stiegprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bjørnson, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brynolfsson, ReineReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giorgetti Cima, CarmenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gombau i Arnau, AlexandreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keeland, RegTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, WibkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kyrö, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendelsund, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortega Román, Juan JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wenner, MartinReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Det hade blivit en årligen återkommande händelse.
It happened every year, was almost a ritual.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Män som hatar kvinnor ("Men who Hate Women"), 2005. English translation by Reg Keeland under the title The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, January 2008.
ISBN 0307269752 is for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
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Synopsis for the Dutch edition: 
"Twee tegenpolen, Mikael Blomkvist en Lisbeth Salander. Hij is een charmante man en een kritische journalist van middelbare leeftijd, uitgever van het tijdschrift Millennium. Zij is een jonge, gecompliceerde, uiterst intelligente vrouw met zwartgeverfd haar, piercings en tatoeages, én een uitermate goede hacker. Samen vormen ze een ongewoon, maar sterk team.

Mikael wordt benaderd door oud-zakenman Henrik Vanger. Veertig jaar geleden is de zestienjarige Harriët Vanger op mysterieuze wijze verdwenen en vermoedelijk vermoord. De zaak is echter nooit opgelost en inmiddels verjaard. Toch wil Henrik Vanger graag dat Mikael zich hier nog eens op stort."

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo. 
Haiku summary
Journalist solves type
of locked-room murder with help
of the tattooed girl.
Author's premature
death, good PR spark massive
sales phenomenon.

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