Tim covered this one pretty well in his review, but he didn’t marvel at what for me is the main salient insight I gained into Swedish culture by reading this book: If Stieg Larsson’s depiction of his countrymen is even close to accurate, the average Swede drinks enough coffee in a week to reanimate the corpse of Dag Hammarskjold.
I also enjoyed the fact that Larsson, who was a middle-aged lefty magazine reporter in real life, created a protagonist who is a lefty magazine reporter. The fictional (or not-so-fictional?) investigative reporter, Mickael Blomkvist, drinks a cup of coffee every eight minutes, routinely solves mystery capers, and has sex at least nine times a week–with all kinds of different women, including the titular heroine, a computer hacker with Asperger’s Syndrome.
I liked the book a lot for what it was: it had memorable characters, an original, fast-moving plot, and what I thought was a very strong sense of place (though I’ve never been to Sweden, so I can’t compare this to reality). I look forward to reading the next installment in the series, but it will have to wait for next year’s vacation.