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this really, seriously is the most under-edited, over-rated writer I;ve come across. Just tthink, really, is this a good book…
Posted by jd , 19 August 2010
Yes! It is! I don’t care if it was edited by a monkey the story is excellent and the characters make you care. It is the story, not the editing that grabs me!
Posted by lew in Vancouver, BC , 19 August 2010
I have to agree with you JD. I have read two of the three and I’m only continuing becuase I feel that I must be the only one who is missing it. And it is 100% under-edited (if that’s a word!).
I would not recommend these books to anyone who actually reads. In my opinion, it is of the same caliber of The DaVinci Code. A book for the masses with limited intelligence.
The author is great at selling books…just not profoundly!
Posted by Rina120 , 19 August 2010
To JD and Rina120.Unbelievable! What would you suggest as a good read?
Posted by Keats Alexander in Peterborough,Ont , 20 August 2010
These people must have an agenda. People are different, and thus, different tastes in literature. But why waste your time trashing a book, unless you are seeking attention or have an alternative goal? I absolutely loved the first 2 and am itching for the last.
Posted by L Ross Rucker in Katy, TX , 20 August 2010
I loved all three of these books. I was, however, very disappointed with the movie.
Posted by martibaja in San Felipe, Mexico , 21 August 2010
I dont think these are great books and I have wondered what all the fuss was about. I find the translations into english are turgid. They deal with ‘strong’themes but this does not a good book make. Give me Patricia Highsmith or Reginald Hill or Ian Rankin any day. ‘The Colour of The Snow’ German writer Rudiger Kremer, translated is BRILLIANT. Read it. Knocks the Millenium trilogy into a cocked hat.
Posted by kaaboot in worcester.UK , 23 August 2010
In all three books, the errors made in translation to English are frequent and distracting. I don’t understand the internal processes of publishing well enough to understand “why?” would Vintage (Random House, NY) subject a notable series to ridicule when someone could–and should–clean up after Reg Keeland (translator) prior to sale in the US. Steig Larsson’s books deserve better treatment.
Posted by , 25 August 2010
Mayby you should think about translator? Mayby English version is overedited. You must learn Swedish to know the truth
Posted by Taclem in Uppsala , 25 August 2010
“Give me Patricia Highsmith or Reginald Hill or Ian Rankin any day. ‘The Colour of The Snow’ German writer Rudiger Kremer, translated is BRILLIANT.”
Thanks for the tip. Went to Amazon and read Colour excerpt. Second page consisted of a single paragraph, 30 lines long. Torture….
Highsmith appoears capable of short, well written sentences. I ordered two of her books.
Posted by Onnalora in NW Oregon , 26 August 2010
“Mayby you should think about translator? Taclem in Uppsala.
Learning Swedish certainly solves the translation problem. Further suffering through what Keeland does to the English language would not then be required.
Given the author’s untimely death and ensuing legal conflict between his common law wife and Larsson’s father/brother, the publisher may not have been able to make further correction to the manuscripts.
Posted by Onnalora , 26 August 2010
People who think these books need editing would hate Kerouac’s On the Road. If anything the inexorable way the prose pulls you along is a testament to the sophistication of this writer’s style. People who think there is too much are essentially “lazy” readers, who probably have grown up watching short term television and movie bits that allow their minds a quick fix and then move on. Have you people ever read Proust? How about Shakespeare? It is sad what happens when people think they have the ability to whine coherently about a writing style that has sold 40 million books. They probably think Harry Potter is over rated too. Pitiful.
Posted by Tim Osburn in Urbana, Illinois , 29 August 2010
i totally agree with Tim!
Posted by Jennifer in Heidelberg, Germany , 31 August 2010
I’m a big fan – loved all 3 books!
Posted by GG www.authoraddict.com , 1 September 2010
The books are good, but with all this hype you would believe that he is the first and last writer. People are reacting this way because he died suddenly before the books were published, had that not been the case those books would have come and gone in a heart beat, excuse the pun.
Posted by l. ciele in new york , 2 September 2010
oh this isn´t true! i read the books first without knowing he´s dead… i think this has no effect of the popularity!
Posted by Jennifer in Heidelberg , 3 September 2010
I have to admit that I was underwhelmed, but then I live on a boat and when out at sea I’ll read anything!
Posted by J.E.Adam in Bangkok, Thailand , 5 September 2010
The stories are fun but the books aren’t very well written, and some of the stuff is downright silly. I got pretty tired of reading
- directions and roads in Sweden
- how much kroner everything cost
- all the different Ikea products purchased
- ditto for the Apple stuff
- about how Blomkvist is middle-aged and out of shape but somehow every single female character wants to screw him (how much of Blomkvist was really just the author fantasizing about himself?)
- how every single villain in the book just HATES women…we get it, you’re a feminist and that’s cool…but you don’t have to hit us over the head with a hammer.
Posted by Craig in New York, NY , 6 September 2010
I’m not going to get into an argument as to whether the book is deserving of the praise heaped upon it (personally I think they are excellent books) but it’s all subjective, based on opinion.
However, comparing this series of books to tripe like the DaVinci code is silly. The DaVinci code sold copies because it is a glorified version of a gossip rag.
“OMG! JESUS HAD SECRET LOVE CHILD!” I can virtually picture it on the front of those insipid Celebrity gossip magazines that a certain group of women seem obsessed with. The text itself demonstrates only a child-level understanding of the English language.
A pointless comparision.
Posted by DouglasJ in Scotland , 6 September 2010
The DaVinci Code sold a lot of copies because it showed a version of xtianity that millions of people wish actually existed. If it were true there would be a lot more adherents to the sect. Since it isn’t true, one is allowed to characterize it as gossip. However, saying Brown is merely a hack is a cheap trick. Dan Brown is an adequate writer of a certain narrative style. It reads well, pulls his readers along, and gets his plot accomplished. That he isn’t Scott Fitzgerald, that he doesn’t plumb the human condition, that is true, but it isn’t a characteristic of his prose style.
I assume the only real reason these books are compared is that they both sold a lot of copies. They are both exciting to read for the first time. I don’t think Larsson is necessarily a deep writer, but his interest in the inherent sexism of the common culture is an important aspect of his work. And any time I hear some guy complain about being hit over the head with “sexism” it rings that little bell in me that says “somebody’s feeling uncomfortable about themself.” My ex worked for the coalition against sexual assault in a midwestern state for eight years and let me tell you, Larsson can’t get anywhere near enough to talking “too much” about this subject. It is omnipresent. Men like the men in his books are effing every where. The scandals of the roman church, re ped priests, are just the tip of the iceberg. I would imagine most institutions have a large contingent of such men. The recent news about the number of people at the pentagon who have purchased (purchased! in such a way it can be tracked!) child pornography is merely yet another item that supports Larsson’s work. If you have daughters you need to be aware that men like her Advokat are everywhere. You need to teach your child to be, if not a violent scary girl like Lisbeth, at least one who knows she can always fight back and go to her people and the authorities. No more victim shame.
Posted by Tim Osburn in Urbana, Il , 6 September 2010
I would disagree that Brown’s books “read well” – I’ve read them and find them tedious.
His prose is quite contradictory at times (I believe the famous example is of the man who the curator cannot see because he is hidden in shadow… but can actually see him perfectly well when it suits Brown.)
There is a phenominal difference in the number of copies of Angels & Demons sold to the number of copies of The Da Vinci code sold.
Prior to either movie being released ‘The Da Vinci Code’ had sold roughly twice as many copies are the preceeding novel. People wanted scandal, not Dan Brown.
Posted by DouglasJ in Scotland , 7 September 2010
Hahahahaha!!! Craig seriously you hit the nail on the head, buddy! I really honestly enjoyed these books. I can understand the frustration people are expressing with some of the text (really, it could be better) but come on, it really is about the story guys. Until you become a best selling author, shut ye traps…
Posted by Carey M , 7 September 2010
All three books in the series are interesting to me because they take explore so much. The three books take on the reality of the misogyny of detective fiction, this is the notion that some people, both men and women, “hate” women for arbitrary reasons. Larssen is “pro women,” however, because he portrays so many differences in women, in their personalities, lifestyles, sexuality, careers. This paradox is one that the series’ female protagonist, Lisander, explores in a subtle way. What I like about Lisander is that Larsson keeps her in the dark about so much of what is going on around her. Her limitations endear her to the reader, but her opportunism excites the reader as well.
Posted by Mae in Fay, NC , 10 September 2010
This is a story, and like all good stories they are meant to engage the reader. The translation does make the reading teadious at times and the geographic explanations can be soporific, but overall they are a good read. I admitt getting into the first two books took me no less than 100 pages before I was actually wanting to continue. The fact that Larsson passed wans’t something I knew until mid-way through the second book. I certainly agree that the hype his death created may add to the number of books sold. For me this in no way influenced the fact that there is a certain anticipation created in the stories. I love to read, and I am by no means a literature major, but I think people tend to want to criticize anything with so much hype. I say sit back, and enjoy the read!
Posted by Cynthia in Fonthill, Onatrio, Canada , 12 September 2010
I just think it’s funny that people who hated the books so much and thought they were so horrible, have not only found there way to the website but have put so much thought into all this. easy to rip on others who put themselves out there. relax.
Posted by kheide in honolulu , 13 September 2010
I think the geographical detail, kroner information and others may seem tedious because we are not familiar with them. If you know the city of Chicago and read “The Time Traveler’s Wife” this same type of description walks you down the street and escorts you to the next scene. I don’t believe one should criticize based on ignorance.
By the way, thanks for the map on this website. It is very helpful for those detailed descriptions.
Posted by Tori in Fort Wayne , 15 September 2010
I was getting tired of the list of roads and places in a strange language, too. But then I got the idea and turned on my Google Earth and I started following the characters movement on the map during tailing “scenes” and it was exiting. You have picture of Mikka’s house, too.
Posted by Thai in Shanghai/Perugia , 19 September 2010
I think it all lies in the translation. I wish I knew swedish, because as good as the books are, I think that they must be even better in the author’s native tongue. Case in point: I am bilingual (English-Spanish) and Gloria estefan,s voice is 10x better in her native tongue…just saying…
Posted by Kat in Decatur, AL , 27 September 2010
Is it great literature? Of course not, but I didn’t read the books expecting so-called “literary fiction.” It was a great diversion, though, as most good detective novels are, and the character of Lisbeth Salander was fascinating. She’s one example of many characters that have been appearing lately in novels and films who apparently have some form of autism (or something like it, as some of Larsson’s characters note). I’m glad someone else raised the issue of familiarity with geographic particulars. Larsson’s inclusion of street names is no different than that of, say, John Lescroart in his detective novels set in San Francisco. I, too, read the books with a map of Sweden and a street map of Stockholm nearby as well as a calculator to figure the cost of things in dollars.
Posted by Elfkin in Barbourville, KY , 28 September 2010
Good grief. How can someone compare Stieg Larson with Dan Brown’s piece of garbage. Please.
Yes, the Millennium trilogy does have flaws – translation and the fact that almost every male character is at least slightly chauvinist except for Christer who is gay. My biggest gripe – not a huge one is that Lisbeth Salander is good at EVERYTHING. Also, people with photographic memories never have fantastic reasoning skills for abstract Math. Different parts of the brain. Larsson made an error there, but who cares??? Its a great read!!!
Posted by Cherry Pie in NJ , 5 October 2010
I agree with the fact that sometimes its just fun to read and “escape” which thest books were so good at! I agree with the person that said “relax”
Posted by Mike in San Antonio , 16 October 2010
I agree with Carey M’s comments and, by the way, to JD who started all this, did you ever consider editing your own writing???
Posted by Glenna in Flagstaff , 12 November 2010
Consider all the time and effort people have put in to the responses on this website. If Larsson’s books were poor reads, no one would be here. Some writers can spend a page describing a particularly moving sunset or sunrise and some readers will swoon over said description. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, or so I’ve heard it said. Larsson’s writing is good enough to carry the story and not get in the story’s way, and for me the story and its characters are are the important factors. It is a really good story through all three books, with characters who obviously come to life for most people. I’ll be recalling Lisbeth Salander and her fellow characters for many years and wondering what they are doing, just as I have wondered about the characters in David James Duncan’s ‘The Brothers K’ even though it’s been years since I read that book.
Posted by JAG , 29 November 2010
Really – each to their own. These aren’t great literature and I didn’t expect them to be. They’re a good read for a rainy weekend. Page turner, whatever. All a bit silly, but no big deal.
These people carrying on – why did you read them? And why waste your time finding the website and complaining? Get a life?
Posted by JA Arena in Melbourne , 29 November 2010
These books are horrible! – badly written, unedited, it seems, the characters are one-dimensional, not at all worth reading about, the stories are just sex and violence, pedophilia, sadism, nothing more. The only appeal I can see is that people are, sadly, vicariously interested in this kind of crap. Good for stoking a furnace, but not much else.
Posted by Bill Kennedy in Newbury, Ohio , 13 December 2010
I don’t think I’ve ever been so interested in a book trilogy and writer that I may never read. I expect to see the films based on the novels. I got interested from a blog post on Writ at Large. This blogger described Larsson’s fascinating background in his film review of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and he points out that the original book title in Swedish was “Men Who Hate Women”.
Posted by Kate Cornell-Ford in Manhattan , 15 December 2010
Bill Kenneddy: Well played irony there, carrying on right after the post calling it out. Why did you post that, really?
Posted by Nathan in Denver, CO , 5 January 2011
If the books were all so bad..why did some of you bother with vol. 2 and 3! I enjoyed them……and Dan Brown’s too. I love to read, but I must say I am not in the category so expressed by Mr. Kennedy in Ohio. Lastly, why did you, Mr Kennedy!
Love to complain, is that it! It’s not all bad!
Posted by Luisa Fialho in Boston 1/4/11 , 5 January 2011
I agree that the books are overrated. So far anyway. I only read about 100 pages of the first book and then someone took it from me. So, I started reading the second book while I waited to get the first one back. I’m about 100 pages into the second one as well. For as long as I have been reading them, I should be done by this point. When a book grabs my attention, I literally can not put it down. I will be done reading within 2 days. Not the case this time. I would think that if I were going to enjoy these books, I would know it by now. Usually, by time I’m done reading the prologue, I’m hooked. If not, then by time I’m done the first or second chapter. I’m 100 pages into both books so far, and I am really not seeing what the big fuss is all about. Honestly, the only reason I am still reading, is in hope that it will eventually grab my attention. If it does turn out that I did enjoy them, I will repost.
Posted by Cortney in Bear, DE , 17 January 2011
Why did I bother to read the books, if I didn’t like them that much? Because of my book group –all three books were put on our calendar and I have read the first two and will read the third. For a book group, it isn’t so much about liking or not liking, it is about the discussion.
In the book group, I have suggested books that other people didn’t enjoy. But they still read them, and came to discuss them. That’s the point.
Posted by Groupie , 23 January 2011
I tired of the endless directions, details about kronor, and technological details also. But that never made me put the books down. I often wonder how much has been lost in translation (yes, a poor translation at times.)
The story is great, though. Isn’t that why most of us read books in the first place?
Posted by growingstronger.tumblr.com in MO, USA , 3 February 2011
I’ve spent time in Sweden and I loved all the references to Swedish place names, streets, food and kronor. It made the books even more enjoyable for me. I thought the books were well-written. Maybe a bit too much violence for my liking, but that’s just my opinion.
Posted by Joanne in in British Columbia, Canada , 4 February 2011
This book series is massively over rated. Lisbeth Salander is the ONLY reason to keep reading. Every other character is either a bore or a distraction from the main plot. The last book could have been the second book’s 50-75 page conclusion, but Larsson writes a 500+ page book instead. What a bore.
Posted by Mike in Clarks Summit , 19 April 2011
In what way do people think it’s overrated? I haven’t read eminent critics calling it the greatest novel written thus far, nor heard of other writers giving up because they can’t match its pithy insights into the human condition. A bunch of ordinary people enjoyed it, as far as I can see. I think I read that it had sold around 50m copies to date. That’s not overrated, it’s just rated.
Posted by genji in Lisbethtown , 19 April 2011
Wow. Lot’s of home critics and editors here. That said, I have read the first two books. The character of Lisbeth is fascinating and well-drawn. She is a strong, intelligent woman who takes no guff from men; the bequiling part is the lack of her socialization and the tension comes from wondering if she will ever find or develop empathy for others, especially Kalle F*&&^ Blomquist. Most of the secondary characters are well-drawn also. The plot, however, was copped and cadged from a number of sources, including Dick Francis. I can accept that, however, as most mysteries rely upon common threads of human behavior (greed, guilt etc) and truly unique plot devices are rare.
The translation is, however, poor. Some English words just are wrong as used. Some phrases are prolix and awkward, detracting from the pace of the book. This was unnecessary. Minor plot variations are to be expected, and don’t bother me much, but the mangling of English is a little hard to accept.
Finally, I now plan to retire by cornering the market on coffee in Scandinavia!
Posted by AtticusinPa in Pittsburgh , 21 May 2011
I liked the under editing. It gave the book character. I did noticed some words used wrong in the english translation but I enjoyed it. Would I recommend these books to my grandmother? Nope just because of the content alone. But I would recommend these books to my friends and have.loanes.my copies out on several occasions with not a single bad word said abou about them. Everyone loves them. So what if its under editted?
Posted by Vicki in Frankfort , 14 July 2011
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. This forum isn’t just for fiercely loyal fans. Some of us have a higher expectation for style and substance but enjoyed the read anyway. Escapist literature to relax the mind before sleeping.
Stieg Larsson is not a great writer…he is a good storyteller and for some folks this is enough. The popularity of an author does not always have a bearing on how adept he/she is with language and structure.
Larsson’s motivation for writing these books was to create a platform of social awareness for the plight of women in Sweden. He was not aiming to be a towering literary giant.
I enjoyed the stories immensely, but was never impressed with Larsson’s writing skills. After ploughing through the opening chapters of TGWTDT, I was reminded somewhat of Poe, who also overwrote and hit us over the head with every little detail. Poe, however, had a better command of language and drew us into his stories more adeptly. Ditto for Irvings’ ‘Cider House Rules’.
I don’t object to overwriting because I’m a ‘lazy’ reader, I object because it is the mark of a writer who lacks command of vocabulary and it’s boring. One of the rules of writing is brevity…get your point across by making every word count. Don’t waste the reader’s time with excruciating detail and unnecessary prose and redundancy.
Criticism and observation are flattering to an author because it shows we are engaged…we are paying attention, thinking about the material, spending time on weighing our responses and bothering to respond. Even those of us who are critical of Larsson’s trilogy would not waste our time reading them if there wasn’t something good about them. My intellect does not shut down when I read, and I can’t be fooled into thinking something is magnificent when evidence to the contrary is right before my eyes.
The trilogy should have been better translated and edited and not rushed into print. Larsson would surely have rewritten parts of the trilogy had he lived. Even the best editor could not make the trilogy into a towering literary masterpiece. It is what it is. It’s enough that the books are interesting, iconic and commercially popular.
Larsson created another world for us to inhabit for a few hours, memorable characters, a better awareness of social issues in Sweden and a renewed appreciation for good coffee. Good enough for me.
Posted by Jean Ferguson in Toronto, Canada , 6 May 2012
As a fluent Swedish reader with British English as my mother tongue I have to say the books’ English versions – whilst working well as an entertaining read – lost a lot of subtleties in translation. Detail is missing – I give some examples in my other post (about the translations), Larsson’s moments of very dry humour are lost etc.
Just the change in title from ‘Men that hate women’ to ‘The girl…’ changes the way the book should be viewed. Perhaps its not ‘great literature’ but there are more than just a few glimpses of genius, and I for one think it stands well above much of the run of the mill writing being produced today.
Posted by Liz in Sweden , 9 May 2012
These books are Stupid, Stupid, Stupid! They are an insult to any accomplished writer who can actually string a sentence together. Case in point: Dennis Lehane – who is a fiction writer of the highest order, and somehow he can’t sell a fraction of as many books as an overrated hack like Larsson.
Most books can make you feel enlightened after reading; Larsson’s books actually make you feel thicker after reading them! Nuff said.
Posted by Pia in Stockholm, Sweden , 14 May 2012
Really? You posted the exact same thing in another thread! And instead changed your name.. WTF? Well I guess I should just post my exact same response for everyone who has nothing to do but go onto different fanpages just to simply post criticisms which hold no backbone other than “poor editing” (DUH, translated from Swedish what the hell did you expect?) and “Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!” since we’re copying and pasting here:
“Yup. Larsson’s books are terrible. They’re so simple. Well, other than the fact that they implement bold attitudes of feminism and directly address issues of discrimination and political corruption which are very large issues in Swedish society. Women being murdered but remaining of low importance simply because they are “whores” or sex trafficking being ignored because, like the murders, they’re “whores” and a young girl facing injustices her whole life directly due to political corruption aren’t serious issues and definitely do not occur today. And although most of its popularity and sensation was due to the fact that it directly criticized social issues making it in fact a very bold statement in very Mikael Blomkvist style. And his sentences are definitely simple. You know, like Ernest Hemingway who’s sentences were incredibly plain and straightforward but held much deeper meanings of existentialism and showed the post-World War attitude held in that time.
So yes, “these books are Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!” But I suppose the reason this doesn’t make you feel enlightene like “most books” is because these aren’t like most books. You know, most books as in Twilight or maybe James Patterson books. Leaving you enlightened for only a brief moment, if you call being mildly surprised or satisfied with a happy ending enlightend. And they do leave you thicker. Thicker with very important issues that are currently being ignored in today’s society.”
Posted by Angelica , 26 June 2012
Definitely under-edited. It’s mostly exposition. That’s 100% the writer – not the translator.
Posted by Anuk in Stockholm , 3 September 2012
somebody mentioned ‘Harry Potter’ with scepticism, how can a book sold in so many copies be overrated? As we can see, very easily. ‘Harry Potter’ is terrible but…it works. Children read it. Ok, it is unfair, Harry Potter is for children. Doesn’t matter, he is a wizard but the author lacks the imagination. Let’s mention another bestseller, let’s talk about the great ‘Da Vinci Code’! Mamma mia! That book really made me angry, what a poor, miserable writing and yet the author sold 1000000000000 copies. I felt so deceived that I decided to edit it and replaced most nouns with one but the most adequate(s…) and most adjectives with the adjective coming from this noun. Then it truly became a great book! I kept my unique copy, of course. When it comes to the Larsson Trilogy, in my opinion it is overrated, but it talks about some important issues as others pointed out. Amd it is very entertaining. I dont like this exaltation: “stupid, stupid stupid!” That provoked me to leave a comment. Perhaps you could choose a different word, maybe: flat, superficial, annoying but stupid? a very infantile way of expressing your disappointment. I am not a native Enlish speaker, I appologise for the mistakes. An now I am going back to reading:)
Posted by Ania Sudolinska in Bologna , 25 October 2013
Just to say “NO COMMENT”. If you didn’t enjoy them you are in a minority. SHAME, YOUR LOSS
Posted by A , 8 February 2014