The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo French translation cover image
Män som hatar kvinnor is the title of Stieg Larsson’s first Millenium book, which roughly translates into Men who Hate Women. The French title, Les hommes qui n’aimaient pas les femmes, is a bit longer but a lot more accurate than the English translated title, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The English title refers to Lisbeth Salander’s tattoo, which covers part of her back and is naturally of a dragon. It doesn’t make much sense. The only thing that I can think of is that it’s in tune with the other titles of the series, making reference to a girl.
Stieg Larsson died in 2004 from a violent heart attack. He had just handed the three volumes of Millenium to his editor. The English translation appeared in about 2005. The French followed in 2006 and it’s taken a while for the literary hysteria to sweep through Québec. Since September ’08, libraries can’t stock enough of this book.
I finally succumbed to the book when I went to my local book store. The trouble in Québec is that you have to go to specialized stores to get English books. This isn’t true in Montréal, where you can get loads of English books at Chapter’s and Indigo. But in Québec City, you are shit out of luck.
I have a rule. I always try to read books in their original language. This is why most of the books I read are in English. One of my favorite science-fiction writers is Maurice Dantec, a Frenchman who’s living in Montreal. His books are hard to find, but they are good. I really loved Babylon Babies, the book upon which Babylon AD was based. Just to mention that Babylon AD sucked ass, even though Matthiew Kassovitz directed it.
So I can’t read translated books when those are French versions of original texts which are in English. Since the Millenium trilogy was written in Swedish, it didn’t really pose any problems to that rule.
As I went through the bookstore, I couldn’t really find any of Dantec’s books that I wanted. I found American Black Box, the 3rd volume of his journals. I found Cosmos Incorporated, the book that I had finished a few weeks ago already.
I looked at the pile of Stieg Larsson books and decided to try one out. The main reason was that I was going grocery shopping and wasting an hour or two in the local shops, reading, eating and taking things easy. This is one of my weekly or biweekly habits. I enjoy this. In Cold Blood was in my bag in my apartment, so I needed something else to read.
I usually shun popular books, but I decided to go ahead and try it out. I’ve only read a few chapters and I am intrigued. Today, for Good Friday, I plan on reading some more and maybe dropping by a church nearby.