I had heard the name of the book being thrown around a lot – in conversations, blogs et al. And after a decade of it getting published I read the book. Well almost.
Why almost? You ask…
Steigh Larson has a good story at hand, even if it is a bit too much to swallow (but it is fiction…) at times. It is a big book, slow at start and picks up pace gradually, that is if you are still at it and haven’t thrown the book at the wall frustrated. Frustrated by the mindless passages of details that are totally unnecessary and as a reader it is really exasperating to sit there and read lines that have no bearing whatsoever on the story – the only thing that they do is add pages to the book.
The book starts with a cryptic chapter in which an octogenarian receives a framed flower which he has been receiving on each of his birthday. The flower is a reminder of his niece who used to gift him the same but had disappeared 40 years ago. The man is convinced that she was murdered. Of course all of this comes zillions of lines later by which time your mind has lost track because one of the protagonist is caught up in a court case in a defamation suit.
Too much is going on at once and it is not surprising that the author is not able to give equal justice to both threads. The characters in themselves have been thought up with great care – at least Sandler (the female protagonist). I loved her no-nonsense attitude even though some of her actions didn’t make sense and seemed unrealistic.
The make protagonist however was a different matter. He was portrayed in very good light but his attitude towards women in my opinion was stinking. Some of the women characters depicted in the book seem really ridiculous – like his partner – who is married and still sleeps with him and her husband is totally ok with it – really? This is something only a male author could have come up with and would be an ideal situation for any man – have fun without the baggage.
The book has a very dark story - brutal murders of women spread across several years. While one does hear of such heinous crimes getting committed – point in example is the Delhi rape in 2013 – the person behind it and the way it was all conceived and executed seemed too bizarre to be even possible. I almost had a desire to puke just thinking and visualizing what the author was trying to say.
I didn’t have the patience to complete the book and find out what happened to the court case. Frankly I didn’t care and I was a bit disturbed by the events in the book. So I switched to something lighter (or so I thought – later on that)
All in all – it’s a fair read – keeps one intrigued in bits and pieces – seems that the editors could have done a better job in cutting out the flab (or was it intentional?)
Will I be reading the other books in the series – I am noncommittal at this juncture. I know what to expect and I am right now not lured into it kind of halfheartedly.