Stieg Larsson

Stilted writing

I have got to be one of the three people in the world who did not like this book. Yes, the plot is different and the Salander character is someone whose like we have not seen before. However, the writing is incredibly stiff and dry. In my opnion, the author had little skill in either developing characters or getting to the point.

The book is over 800 pages long. After the first 300 pages I still found the main characters to be one dimensional and poorly drawn. I had nearly put the book away because of the dry and mechanical sentence structure, but friends urged me to keep going. After 400 pages, when Blomqvist and Salander finally began interacting, it got a tad more interesting simply because there was some actual plot movement. (I used to think that James Michener’s long books had tedious beginnings; by comparison, they move along like lightning.)

I believe that much of the appeal of the book is today’s fascination with sexual perversion and violence. How many readers kept turning the pages just to find the next bit of deviant behavior? Yes, this exists in our world and is a major part of Salander’s makeup. More to come in the next book, I would imagine, as much of Salander’s past was left unexplained.

This book needs some serious editing. Yes, we all love a good long read, but long in itself does not necessarily equal good or well written.


M Howe i Shelburne
Submitted: 6 September 2010

1 comments on “Stilted writing”

  • Denker Dunsmuir says:

    Before I get to my comments about this Review, I must report that you may be one of the three people who are willing to reveal they did not like this book. I won’t read it only because I find the subject matter disturbing. I sat through The Charlie Rose Show interviews about the author, his books and a movie, and found it uninteresting. Don’t most of us complain that violence & perversion is all t.v. evening news and news reporting online and in papers and magazine present to us? If it bleeds, it leads? Yet we seek it out in a fictional sense, and apparently can not get enough of it.I have few “favorite” writers because of the issues the post, “Stilted writing” discusses. One of my favorites, purely from a literary vantage point, is Bill W. He wrote the first 164 pages of the Big Blue Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. After the Bible this book is one of the most popular books in publication.Leaving aside the topic of the book, recovery, and the lyrical style of the writing, it has a clearly stated and well-written message. BTW: It’s only been in publication since the 1930′s compared to the Bible, one of Gutenberg’s first offerings from his newly invented printing press circa 1400′s.Although the genre of the Big Blue Book is quite different to Stieg Larsson’s work, tight, direct, top-shelf writing distinguishes Bill W’s work from most others across genres and generations.A more accurate comparision might be to contrast writing styles of Stieg Larsson with perhaps Ann Rice or the Marquis de Sade or Henry Miller’s series, Nexus, Plexus, Sexus, or even Frank Yerby. Having grown up on these books, primarily because of their focus on deviance, I can say I often found the writing styles wanting and treated them like literary cafeterias where I picked out and read and reread only the parts of these books that appealed to my sensibilities. I skipped everything else. Fanny Hill and Lady Chatterley’s Lover are notable exceptions in my youthful quest for titillating reading because each explored human relationships from an adults only perspective with depth and breadth. Both are literary classics because they are well-written, multi-faceted explorations of their subject matters.