“A dark-hearted thriller”. That is what Vanity Fair quoted this novel at the behind cover. And what says the Childlike Teacher? ABSOLUTELY! I was just so awed, fixated and very mesmerized with the narration of this novel written by Swedish author named Stieg Larsson. It is the international best-seller “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.”!
The book cover. Couldn’t snap a photo of my own book as I lent my camera to Mak & Ayah for Hajj nostalgia.
Yeah, I know I am pretty late. All these while, I knew the title “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” as one of the strongest contenders in Oscar 2012 especially Rooney Mara for her superb portrayal as Lisbeth Salander; giving Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”) & Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”) a tough running-out-of-money competition; BUT I pay no heed to that. Little did I know that it was actually an adaptation from a written masterpiece.
Rooney Mara at Oscar 2012 for her critically-acclaimed portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With Dragon Tattoo”; Oscar nomination for Best Actress – courtesy of The Jakarta Post.
It was a virtual discussion with my friends, Naz & Norzat via FB on novels that prompted me to read the novel. Initially, I was lamenting on Facebook about the overrated erotic so-called “best-seller” (I read out of curiosity of why the novel is being dubbed as the “IN” book these days) “50 Shades Of Grey” as per my blog entry at https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/the-new-literature-of-modern-masochism-kama-sutra-50-shades-of-grey-by-e-l-james/. I told that about the cheesy plots in “50 Shades Of Grey” and its saturation with the women’s fantasies lines. I thought the BDSM part was unique but that was it. Therefore, they suggested me reading “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” for more realistic BDSM scenes. I read the synopsis in Wikipedia and I was jolted with excitement. I have to read this book!
After went jogging at FRIM, Selayang, I drove to Putrajaya and on the way, I instantaneously dropped by at Times at Pavillion (my favourite spot) and bought the novel.
The novel was presented with two protagonists; a financial reporter named Mikael Blomkvist & a punk with dragon tattoo computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander. The novel was segregated into 2 main storylines – First, it was about The Vanger family and second one was about resurrection of “Millenium” magazine.
On whole, I like the novel very much despite the fragile correlation between the two storylines. Nevertheless, the characters are very unique and addictive, I say.
Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist. A 40-something financial reporter who is a ladies’ man.
Mikael Blomkvist is portrayed as a 40-something ladies’ man who always “copulate” and has his way with women. So far in this first novel of “Milennium” trilogy, he had screwed 3 women; Lisbeth Salander, Cecilia Vanger who actually seduced him first and his long time on-off lover, the married Erika Berger. By that low moral fibre and pious code, Blomkvist is definitely not the typical perfect hero in fiction. I guess that’s what make him so appealing; especially when Daniel Craig played his character in the film version. I definitely think that Craig is the best choice as he is fit with the fictionalized physical criteria as Blomkvist. Plus, having a James Bond donning his bon-bon shouldn’t be a crime, innit? Hahahaha!
Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. A computer hacker who was a girl oppressed by social misjudgement and raped by her social guardian.
Lisbeth Salander is REMARKABLE. I just fell in love with her strong character. I like her coolness and tough in a very expressionless way. She is undeniably demented and twisted young woman in early 20s who had a tough life when she was a kid. Forced to be in a mental institution and sexually assaulted by her new guardian, Mr Bjurrman when she asked for her financial right. But, what I love about her is that SHE DON’T RECOIL. She struck back and paid the dear Bjurrman a deserving souvenir in a most sadistic way. She is described as a skinny and anorexic-like facade and roguish goth frekazoid. Nevertheless, despite all that; she possess a childlikeness beauty that seems to be very appalling for people around her.
The author, Stieg Larsson who died in 2004. The novels were published after his death.
According to Wikipedia, the author; Stieg Larsson wrote the novel and its two successors “The Girl Who Played With Fire” & “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest” because he was feeling guilty for not doing anything when 3 of his then 15 years old friends gang-raped a girl named Lisbeth. Larsson tried to ask for forgiveness but Lisbeth refused and very angry at Larsson for not doing ANYTHING and just watching her being rape. Larsson couldn’t forgive himself for that for the rest of his life (until his death); thus expressed his regret through his feminism writings about the sexual abuse and oppression facing by women especially in Sweden. This was testified via an article written by his friend Kurdo Baksi at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1299216/Stieg-Larsson-wrote-novel-The-Girl-Dragon-Tattoo-fuelled-brutal-rape.html :
“On that day, 15-year-old Stieg watched three friends rape a girl, also called Lisbeth, who was the same age as him and someone he knew. Her screams were heartrending, but he didn’t intervene. His loyalty to his friends was too strong. He was too young, too insecure. It was inevitable that he would realise afterwards that he could have acted and possibly prevented the rape.
Haunted by feelings of guilt, he contacted the girl a few days later. When he begged her to forgive him for his cowardice and passivity, she told him bitterly that she could not accept his explanations. ‘I shall never forgive you,’ she said, gritting her teeth.
That was one of the worst memories Stieg told me about. It was obvious, looking at him, that the girl’s voice still echoed in his ears, even after he had written three novels about vulnerable, violated and raped women.”
Besides that, the killing of Melissa Nordell, a Swedish model by his boyfriend when she tried to break off the relationship and the honour killing of a Turkish-Swedish woman named Fatime Sahindal by her own father (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_killing_of_Fadime_%C5%9Eahindal) were also said to be the main motivations that shaped his writings about justices for these abuses faced by women as Larsson was very saddened by these two brutal murders of women.
Both women were killed and their murders deeply shaping Stieg Larsson’s writing on uprooting rights for the oppressive women. Melissa Nordell killed by her boyfriend for a relationship break-off; Fatime Sahindal killed by her own father in the name of honour killing.
Honestly if you ask me, I feel related to Lisbeth Salander’s character. I can see some traits in me fleshed out through her character. For instance, Salander curses (“bullshit”) when she saw no ounce of logical/rationale in stories; Salander fights people who mistreat and oppress her; Salander doesn’t like herself to be perceived as weak in arguments/collision of opinions; Salander is attractive to both men and women; Salander goes with her spirit when she really wants something, etc. I feel her. I feel the depth. It’s very surreal but at the same time, very raw.
How a twisted personality in real life can be written in a book so that millions of people who perhaps are experiencing the same bizarre conflicts can feel relate to it? Fascinating. For me so far, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” or in its original Swedish title – “Män som hatar kvinnor” (Men Who Hate Women) happens to be one of the best novels I have read. I am looking forward for another 2 books of this Millennium Trilogy.
Personally, I think tattoos are hot. They define stories in life. It’s a turn on to see tattoos etched on bodies, no? BUT, a turn off to know a Moslem did that. I don’t know; I maybe a bizarre lover but I still very much bound to my religion cocoon. Call it conservative, if you like. I don’t mind. (,”)