‘Dragon Tattoo’

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be pubbed in the US in a few weeks, on the heels of great success in Europe. The Times of London explores that story in a weekend feature.

In the author’s native Sweden, the book sold over one million copies before being published in England, where it’s sold a more modest, but still very strong 52,000. The British publisher is about to release it in paperback, with a 200,000 copy printing.

The book is the first in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, which is so popular that in Stockholm, fans walk in the steps of the fictional characters.

The London Times describes Girl with the Dragon Tattoo this way,

The protagonists of Dragon Tattoo are a remarkably well-drawn duo; disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and youthful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Salander, in particular, is something completely new in crime fiction; she has an alienating appearance (facial jewellery, ill-matched clothes and the dragon tattoo of the title). But despite her forbidding appearance, she is immensely vulnerable, struggling with personal demons. As she and her journalist colleague investigate the disappearance of the niece of an ailing tycoon, readers realised that Salander was an irresistible new character in the genre.

The second title in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire, landed at #10 in France and the third, Castles in the Sky, is now #1 in Sweden.

Unfortunately, Larsson only lived long enough to see his first book become a success in Sweden. He died at the age of 50 in 2004 from an apparent heart attack (there are some who suspect foul play; he was a journalist who had made some scary enemies).

LJ‘s Willy Williams gave it a strong review (LJ review, 8/15) and blogged about it shortly after BEA (we also hear it’s the book she told her boss she had to take with her on vacation).

The originally annouced 100,000 first printing is now up to 150,000, indicating that accounts responded well to it.  A bookseller for BookPeople in Austin, TX makes it a  “Top Shelf Pick” on the indie’s web site and discovered that fellow booksellers in the midwest can’t stop raving about it.

European hits often don’t translate to the US and there are elements in the book that may not appeal to Americans (the novel, titled “Men Who Hate Women” in Sweden, focuses on the serial abuse of women). A reviewer in the Charleston City Paper (the only American newspaper review to date) is so put off by the book, that she suggests Larsson himself was a man who hated women.

Several of the libraries I’ve checked have not ordered it; the rest have ordered it in modest quantities, with some holds.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and Reg Keeland

  • Hardcover: $24.95; 480 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (September 16, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0307269752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307269751
  • Audio CD: Abridged edition, $29.95
  • Publisher: Random House Audio;  (September 16, 2008)
  • Reader: Martin Wenner
  • ISBN-10: 0739370642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739370643

One Response to “‘Dragon Tattoo’”

  1. Stieg Larsson Day | EarlyWord: The Publisher | Librarian Connection Says:

    […] we wrote about the book a few weeks before publication, holds were still light. By pub date, they had grown and we issued a […]