260 reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson

Published: 2009-06-23
Paperback : 600 pages
257 members reading this now
395 clubs reading this now
359 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 225 of 260 members
An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest ...
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An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

Amazon Best of the Month, September 2008: Once you start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there's no turning back. This debut thriller--the first in a trilogy from the late Stieg Larsson--is a serious page-turner rivaling the best of Charlie Huston and Michael Connelly. Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo. --Dave Callanan

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


A Friday in November

It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day–which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Who do you consider the novel's protagonist, Lisbeth or Mikael? Why?

2. What point was Larsson trying to make with the themes running through this novel? How do issues such as violence against women, journalistic integrity, and more general notions of trust tie in with each other throughout the book?

3. What function do the sex-crime statistics on each section's title page serve?

4. Reread the passage from Mikael's book on page 103. What is its significance in terms of the plot?

5. On page 156, Henrik tells Mikael, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength—even if you no longer need to strike back." Over the course of the novel, who puts this advice to the best use? How, and why?

6. How does the involvement of several Vanger brothers with Swedish fascist groups cloud Mikael's investigation into Harriet's disappearance? What role does Harald play?

7. Why does Henrik become an investor in Millennium? Does his plan succeed?

8. Discuss the character of Lisbeth. Some think she is a "perfect victim" (p. 409), others find her intimidating, and Mikael wonders if she has Asperger's, but the reader is allowed to see exactly how her mind works. How do you see her? How do you think she sees herself?

9. What do you think about the way Lisbeth turns the tables on Bjurman? Is it admirable, or a sign that she's unstable?

10. On page 254, Lisbeth says her new tattoo is "a reminder." Of what?

11. Several times in the novel, Mikael's journalistic ethics are challenged. Do you consider him to be ethical? In your opinion, is anyone in the novel truly honorable? If so, why?

12. After reserving judgment for most of his investigation, Mikael determines that Harriet was, in fact, murdered and that he's hunting for a killer. What prompts this decision? How does this affect the rest of his investigation?

13. Discuss the role of parents in the novel. Who is a good parent, and why? How might Harriet's story have changed if her mother had behaved differently? What about Lisbeth's? Is Mikael a good father?

14. Blackmail is used several times in the novel, for different ends. Who uses it most effectively, and why?

15. On page 507, Mikael tells Lisbeth that to him, friendship requires mutual respect and trust. By those standards, who in this novel is a good friend? Is Mikael? What about Anita?

16. Discuss Henrik's request that Mikael never publish the Vanger story. Is it a reasonable request? Does Mikael's acquiescence change your opinion of him? Do Lisbeth's demands mitigate his ethical breach?
17. What ultimately drives Lisbeth to take action against Wennerström on her own? Does she go too far?
18. Reread Mikael's statement about the media's responsibility at the top of page 575. Can you think of a situation in the American media that is analogous to the Wennerström affair?
19. Discuss the ending. Was it satisfying to you? Why or why not?

Suggested by Members

In chapter two, Lisbeth says "Everyone has secrets...It's just a matter of finding out what they are." Discuss the significance of this quote to the novel and Lisbeth's character.
In chapter four, Blomkvist points out that Vanger is a clever manipulator to get his attention. What did you think of Henrik Vanger at this moment? Did you think him clever or devious?
In chapter 13 we are given the details of Cecilia's and Mikael's love affair simultaneously with Bjurman's rapes of Lisbeth. Why do you think Larsson organized this part of the book like this?
by RockinRenee (see profile) 02/08/12

Did you know what happened to Harriet before it was revealed?
by klowakpa21 (see profile) 07/18/11

Do you think the author intended for the reader to like or relate to Blomkvist?
by joellejarvis (see profile) 12/06/10

Why do you think that some might consider this book too graphic? How does it explain the characters and move the plot?
by maril (see profile) 09/03/10

How does our society treat people with mental challenges differently from the book? Or do we?
How can someone as brilliant as Lisbeth fall through the cracks of the social workers?
Could/should someone have been able to see the real Lisbeth in school and helped her?
by Linny (see profile) 08/23/10

Feminism in the 21st century as seen in the book
by lindad_amato (see profile) 05/17/10

Discuss how you would have approached the book differently (or not) if the title had been "Men Who Hate Women" as it was in the original Swedish.
by kamj3 (see profile) 10/24/09

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Becky D. (see profile) 01/26/22

by Elisa J. (see profile) 07/04/20

by Stefanie A. (see profile) 05/23/20

by Charlene H. (see profile) 11/03/19

We rated this book at B+.

by Abby U. (see profile) 08/06/19

by Sharon L. (see profile) 05/24/18

by Rebecca D. (see profile) 01/12/18

  "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"by Heather W. (see profile) 08/07/15

A good read...slow to start & slow at the end but the middle was fast & exciting!

by Beth I. (see profile) 09/19/14

  "Totally Addictive"by Marisa B. (see profile) 12/10/12

Just Brilliant! Love the characters, the storyline, the ending! Fantastic!!! Couldn't put it down!

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