My first Stieg Larsson book and my reaction to it as I progressed was like: (After 100 pages), Is this The Stieg Larsson that people so much brag about, this is no thriller, so slow, still developing characters. (After 275 pages), WHOA!! what just hit me, so this is how it was to be crossed, O boy, what are they gonna do since they have joined hands, totally couldn’t put it down now. (After 400 pages), its office time let me take it to office, big deal eh? I can read in my cabin with the door closed, whose gonna look at me? and finished it same night :). Now that my dear friends is Stieg Larsson, by the time it ended, I was not only in love with the lead character Lisbeth Salander but also with Mikael Bloomqvist around who the whole story revolves as they uncover the truth behind the murdered girl. Also, my heart cried out for Stieg too, a damn good writer gone too soon, wish he was around to take this series forward or should have written more wonderful books like these. Imagine he wrote this trilogy which was published after his death :(. It came to my attention only in 2011/12 when David Fincher made the movie (remake of original Swedish) and our own Censor board advised him three dozen cuts which he denied outright and didn’t release the movie in India. I had to get an illegal copy then too to watch it and compare it with its Swedish counterpart. Had no idea then that this was based on a book and only this year I got to lay my hands on the trilogy and now I am totally hooked to it. As I compose this, the second of the series is waiting for me to pick it up right next to my laptop (that too in office) :).
The first part of the trilogy is totally dedicated I guess to the character building of Mikael Bloomqvist, an investigative journalist and part owner of the magazine “Millennium” whose career is in a soup because he uncovers the dark truth behind a Billionaire when his sources go haywire. Lisbeth Salander has her own story to tell (although they don’t tell much and one needs to read between the lines – beautifully) as why she is what she is but behind how she looks and behaves, she is a super intelligent investigator cum hacker and has her own support world too. How she tackles her own personal problems and their paths cross when an Industrialist (Hanrik Vanger) appoints / offers a huge sum to Bloomqvist who is taking a break from his journalism to write his own Biography. But it isnt that simple as it looks like and what happens next is an amazing cat and mouse chase game between the recluse Vanger family, Lisbeth and Bloomqvist, the vanished girl, killer at lose, Billionaire with dark secrets behind them all the time and so much more. Although I loved the relaxed pace of the novel too much, never for a moment I felt like I was reading a thriller the way the story is told but it kept taking me deeper in it with every page I turned. After mid ways, it actually picks up the pace so much that it was too hard to put it down, the second half of the book is simply an awesome read with a super finale that I couldn’t predict in my wildest dreams. The way Larsson has given enough footage to the entire Vanger clan was simply outstanding and reminded me so much of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who will always have a dozen of characters but will always do justice to all of them.
The town of Hedestad (Fictional) is one of the very important characters in the story. The way he covered its geography, I can only visualize it but it sounds to beautiful and real that I actually was imagining if I could visit Sweden and go through it myself. Also, the little nuances that he leaves in the story for the reader to decode i.e. Lisbeth’s Tattoos and story(s) behind them, you’ve got to read it to understand it. I hope and look forward to the second part to see if he uncover them or totally leaves them to the reader to make their own theories but this was an amazingly written awesome book that thriller and suspense lovers should read and watch the movies too. Do let me know if you have read the trilogy as how you like it and any other book from Larsson which you feel is equally good like this one. I would certainly look forward to read it too.
Movie Adaptations (Swedish 2009): Saw both the movies today back to back, first I saw the original Swedish and this was almost 3 hours long. But believe me when I say this that even after that length I kept asking for more and not for one moment I felt like it was too long although it missed out on so many details totally breaking my heart. Totally loved Michael Nyqvist who plays the central character Mikael Bloomqvist and Awesome Noomi Rapace who was a perfect fit for Lisbeth Salander’s character. One heck of a movie, although it still no ways comes close to the book but works on most counts.
English (2011): Finally, I saw the movie today and called my wifey and this is how our discussion went. Me: You know who is my favorite Director?
She: (In a fraction of a second without thinking): Quentin Tarantino.
Me: Yes, He was but now today onwards it is David Fincher 🙂 if someone ask you who is yours, please say the same and I will show you a movie this weekend, you will
No doubt, the David Fincher version is way way better than the original just because of the way it is “Scripted”, I mean he has (almost) picked up everything from the book of-course barring the ending and made the reader in me grin from ear to ear that too when his movie is 20 minutes shorter than the original Swedish. Hats off to the man, impeccable casting, mind blowing expressions, amazing editing and what a killer background score. This is going to be my all time favorite Movie adaptation of a book I read and loved ever, now onwards. Still I will maintain that Noomi Rapace was a couple of notches better than Roony Maara in playing Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version but this one is a better movie of the two.