Is it a Scandinavian Thing?

I finally read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. So, I’m a little late to the party. I liked the book; I plan to read the next two. I don’t feel compelled to write any kind of review. Considering the book’s lingering status as an international bestseller, I think it’s been reviewed plenty.

I did come away from the reading with a nagging question. Is it a Scandinavian thing or just a Larsson thing? I’m talking about the author’s need to inform us readers of the exact square footage of every room and building mentioned in the story, along with the engineering specs of every computer used by any character. I know specific is supposed to be better than general when it comes to writing. “Humvee” is better than “really big vehicle.”  “PowerBook” is better than “laptop”. It allows the reader to visualize the scene better. But do we need to know the date of manufacture, size of the screen, hard drive capacity, processing speed, and whether the keyboard is backlit?

I find this more amusing than annoying. My computer jock spouse (he of German ancestry) would likely consider the paragraphs describing the computers as the most important information in the story. But I can’t help wondering if this is a literary tic – all writers have them – or a cultural thing. I haven’t read much Scandinavian fiction, so I can’t compare. Maybe it’s time to broaden my horizons and perhaps find the answer to my question.

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2 comments on “Is it a Scandinavian Thing?

  1. Vicki says:

    It’s a Stieg Larsson thing – one of those charming little quirks in his writing. I’ve read other Scandinavian fiction since finishing Larsson’s series and none of the other writers does this (although the characters seem to drink as many gallons of coffee as Larsson’s do!) In the sequels when Lisbeth goes shopping, he feels the need to detail every single item she purchased on a trip to IKEA. LOL!

    Like

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