I'll probably edit this later but all I can say is that I feel incredibly, incredibly sad that Stieg Larsson is no longer with us because this book exceeded all my expectations.
I feel he put a lot of himself in there. There are some echos of his own life in this book - his passionate beliefs, anti-fascism, main character is a magazine editor... among others. He has put himself in these pages that it almost hurts to read them.
I cannot wait to read the second one, I have reserved it at the library already but naturally it is very popular. I need to read it now. My heart hurts not to, all I want to do is go back to Mikael Blomkvvist and Lisbeth Salander and I don't want to breath until I've absorbed them all.
It's just such a horrible thing that this series will not continue as I believe he had written part and planned for more... so I fear by the third there will still be something left to be resolved.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - or the literal Swedish translation - Men Who Hate Women (or something to that effect) tells two stories. One of Mikael Blomkvist and the other of the mystery of Harriet Vanger who disappeared back in 1963.
The main story is that of Harriet, Mikael's more personal story acts as two slices of bread that hold it in place. But then there is also the personal story of Lisbeth Salander who is one of my favourite people I have met in a book to this date.
She is a unique young woman, treated badly by society by being completely misunderstood. She is fiery, passionate and doesn't adhere to society's rules... or abide by it's laws. She is the radical voice, saying the things many of us probably feel and does the things we can't do because we can't.
She is the girl with the dragon tattoo... but she plays a role in this novel that I cannot go into much detail I think without giving too much away. She is just uniquely interesting.
I think a good book lies within it's characters. You can have a fast paced plot with cliff hangers tripping you up after every chapter, but it will only be a weak shell of a book if it does not have interesting characters that feel so real you could touch them. This book has both - plot and characters enough to make your heart beat out of its chest.
It also feels quite raw. Larsson has a strong voice and a quiet sense of humour that he inserts into the writing.
I feel quite drained reading this book, which I only see as a good thing.
When an author puts himself into a book, so too can you.