“Dragon Tattoo” hacks its way to American audiences

By Lyndsey Hewitt in Arts & Entertainment

March 1, 2012

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Computer hacking, investigative reporting, rape, sexuality, and Sweden…. and all of these things involving a frail, 90 pound Swedish girl called Lisbeth Salander. Though Lisbeth has a delicate looking outer shell, she is everything but. Originally a Swedish trilogy, it has been translated for American audiences and since has become a huge hit.

Beginning a new trilogy of books can be a tough decision. It’s a totally new story and going to take some time to get through. Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, however, will hook you from the start. It’s an original story with some incredible backbone. Seeing a woman as the heroine in a story is new and refreshing.

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” takes place in Sweden and starts out by painting you a picture of a character named Mikael Blomkvist. He’s witty, charismatic, and sensual and likes to stir up the pot in the name of journalism. His forte is revealing the financial crimes of large-scale companies and publishing them in his magazine, Millennium.

Any writer or journalist will appreciate this series of books for its homage to journalistic integrity and civic duty.

In the beginning of the story Mikael is wrongly convicted of libel. After the scandal he takes some time off from his job at Millennium. A wealthy company owner who was aware of Mikael’s knack for investigative reporting hires him in order to investigate a 40-year-old unsolved mystery involving the disappearance of his niece.

Lisbeth’s strength is computer hacking. Her talents come to Mikael’s attention and soon they pair up in investigating the mystery that makes up most of the book.

Following “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” All three of these novels have been made into films, the first by Niels Arden Oplev and the last two by Swedish native, Daniel Alfredson. While they are filmed in the native language, Swedish, they are subtitled in English.

An even better film adaptation of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was recently made by David Fincher (Fight Club). It was nominated for five Oscar’s, including a nomination for Rooney Mara’s performance as Lisbeth Salander. It took home one for film editing. It comes out on DVD on March 20.

There are talks of the rest of the trilogy being made in English, but whether Fincher will take on the rest of them is unknown.

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and the trilogy as a whole are a great series of books and films to dive into if you’re looking for something new. At the very least, if you appreciate a good mystery/scandal, this one is a must-read.

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