I have to say I’m fair dinkum gobsmacked at how bad this book is. I guess although I’ve read a vast amount in the general area, I rarely descent to the lowest common demoninator. And, ladies and gentlemen, what a descent it is.
Having said that, I can understand why it is so popular. In that blunt, matter-of-fact Swedish way the language is simple enough for semi-literate people – it reads like it has been written by a competent eight-year old. And this, of course, must make it a doddle to translate – useful for something planning to be a big seller outside the small native-speaking population. There is an avalanche of stereo-typed characters that are entirely undemanding. The plot is almost non-existent, so nothing taxing there either.
And yet, despite the almost entire lack of plot, this plods on and one AND ON for over 500 pages. I’m guessing you only need to read about a 40th of this to follow it. The rest is padding, the tedium of which makes Steig Larsson’s sandwich descriptions stand out as on-the-edge-of-your-seat-thrilling, small sub-plot masterpieces. Apparently this is what readers en masse want at the moment, padding and tedium. If that is so, this review will signally fail. Damn it, padding just isn’t my thing.