The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The 2005 bestselling book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo takes place in which country?

And the answer: Sweden.    

Photo credit: Reiner Bajo / CTMG, Inc. / Sony Pictures Entertainment. 

Written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was published posthumously in 2005. It's the first book in what's known as the Millennium trilogy, which includes The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest.

This neo-noir psychological thriller of 2005 was an instant hit. Readers were instantly drawn in by the edgy, damaged Lisbeth Salander, who pursues a crusade to right the wrongs inflicted by men who once tried to destroy her. As this article from The Atlantic puts it:

"Stieg Larsson’s ubiquitous airport-fiction novel is popular because of the very thing it claims to detest, namely a particular fascination with the extremes to which a man can punish a woman for her innate womanness."

Coming from Larsson's palpably male perspective, the novel and film explore dark themes of mistreatment and retribution within the context of a mystery plot. While the concept has received widespread acclaim for its unflinching perspective and honest portrayal of humanity, it has also received some criticism for arguably anti-feminist themes. The original Swedish title of the novel translates to Men Who Hate Women and is often called upon as evidence for its questionable treatment of women.

However, others see the popular novel as a refreshingly real perspective of gender dynamics. Regardless of sex, some argue, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lays claim to a Scandinavian-influenced conception of equality, one that disregards the categories which stand between us.

Individual interpretation aside, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has inspired energetic discourse that has only grown following the release of the two 2011 film adaptations, one from Sweden and another a box-office hit from the United States. The latter was chosen by National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2011 and was a candidate for numerous awards, winning, among others, the Academy Award for Best Film Editing, while Rooney Mara's performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Learn more about this iconic 2005 book here.


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