June 9, 2014
Pages in Book: 590
The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was written by Stieg Larsson. It was originally published in 2005, in Sweden by Norstedt. In 2008, it was translated into English and published by Alfred A. Knopf. The book I read was translated by Reg Keeland. The story takes place in contemporary time in Sweden.
There are two protagonists in the story: Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist is a journalist by trade, and part of the Millenium magazine. He was set up and found guilty of libel, and his reputation was on the line. So, he accepts a job from Henrik Vanger to supposedly write a story about Vanger’s family, which ends up just being a cover for investigating the disappearance of Vanger’s niece, a 40-year old case. Vanger promises Blomkvist that if he take on the job, Blomkvist will be able to clear his name and “get back” at Wennerstrom. Blomkvist is charming, good looking, and women like him. He is savvy and inquisitive.
Lisbeth Salander is a rebel, a rogue, but is also hardworking and smart. She has unusual work habits (doesn’t work off of a schedule; does illegal things to get information), does things her own way, and is very independent. She was abused as a child, found mentally unstable, and is now a ward of the state. She dresses like someone at a punk rock concert, with a leather jacket, and rides a bike. Salander initially finds a job in clerical work for Milton Security, but soon her research and analytical skills, as well as computer hacking abilities, become evident, and supersede those of her co-workers. As a result, she becomes an investigator. Later, she works for Blomkvist, helping him to uncover the mystery of Harriet’s disappearance.
Henrik Vanger is the patriarch of the Vanger family, a wealthy and powerful Swedish family with many secrets. Not everyone in the family gets along, and there is great divisiveness. Henrik is in his 80s, retired from the Vanger family corporation, and looking at the last years of his life. He was married once, but hadsno kids. He is fond of his great niece, Harriet, who is the granddaughter of his brother, Gottried. He is a good-natured, fatherly character, witty and powerful. He is obsessed with Harriet’s disappearance in the 1966.
Martin Vanger is the successor of Henrik in the family business, Vanger Corporation. He runs the corporation. Martin is married, and is the brother of Harriet. Martin is rich, hardworking, smart, kind and friendly. He has Henrik’s trust, although Blomkivist is unsure of his motives.
The head of Millenium magazine is Erika Berger. She has a romance with Blomkvist, although she is married. Aside from being romantically involved, Erika and Blomkvist have a good friendship and working partnership, and a great trust in each other. She is blond, pretty and smart.
Hans-Erik Wennerstrom is a financier whom Blomkvist exposes as corrupt. Blomkvist is found guilty of libel in court as a result of his story on Hans. Hans is Blomkvist’s arch nemesis, and one of the main reason’s Blomkvist takes on the job with Vanger. He is portrayed as underhanded and manipulative.
Harriet Vanger, great niece of Henrik, is the subject of the investigation that is the focus of the book. She disappeared in 1966 during an annual parade, with all the Vangers home on Hedeby Island. There was no evidence of how she disappeared, and the police closed the case. She was well liked, especially by Henrik, who had no children. Henrik wants to find out what exactly happened to her.
The first official guardian appointed by the state to look after Lisbeth is Holger Palmgren. Holger is kind to Lisbeth, and gives her some freedoms because he trusts her and sympathizes with her. Lisbeth, in turn, respects Holger. He is an old man who becomes very ill.
On the other hand, Nils Bjurman, is the opposite of Holger. He is appointed guardian of Lisbeth after Holger is physically