Saturday, 25 September 2010
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO by Stieg Larsson
Yes, this is the piece of crap I bought for 12 euros and read in 2 days because I was so desparate for some fiction. The protagonist is a journalist (as the author was) who reads a lot of murder mysteries (as I suspect the author of this murder mystery did) and has lots of beautiful women who want to have sex with him all the time (think not, if his picture on the backflap is anything to go by). I don't know if you really need to know the plot, as I suspect you already know it, due to it being the plot of all these books. I'll give you the highlights: loose cannon investigator blah blah serial killer blah blah it gets personal blah blah killer is one you least suspect. So it was pretty blah, BUT immensely page-turning. No denying it. I also enjoyed the way it was so thoroughly set in Sweden, so they were constantly eating foul fish dishes and putting on thick jumpers.
One thing that made me REALLY MAD was the inclusion of an entirely unecessary and very sadistic rape scene. I've had this before with other books, where you are reading along quite comfortably, and all of a sudden you are like: ah. I see this book was written by a man. And a certain kind of man, too. I don't mean he is a sadistic rapist, but rather that he is clearly someone who comfortably participates in that strand of our culture that eroticises female pain. I'm not saying these sorts of scenes are never acceptable: of course they are, if they are central to the plot or important to the book's theme. But it's incredible how often they are just sort of chucked in there. And I think the reason they are is that they give the writer, and some of the readers, a distinct thrill. Nice. Really nice.
A brilliant example of this is some stupid book I read, the title of which I can't remember. It's set in post Civil War America, which I am sure was a dark time for many people – eg, recently empancipated black people, traumatised white soldiers, etc etc. You'd never know it from this book, which is pretty much one long rape scene, written with precisely detailed excitement. What's incredible, is that this piece of nonsense won the Pulitzer. Honestly, these people ought to phone their moms to apologize.