I was out prowling the streets of Boston and noticed advertisements for Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo plastered all over the MBTA’s busses because it has just been released in paperback.
I always thought it was somewhat pathetic that the English language publishers refused to release this book under its original title, which translates from the Swedish as Men Who Hate Women and is actually way more more apt than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Besides, the blinding yellow/green book cover is what will catch peoples’ attention first anyway. I guess Americans and Brits and all the other English speakers out there just can’t handle the idea of buying a book with such an inflammatory title.
If I recall correctly, the decision had something to do with paranoia that the book wouldn’t sell if it didn’t have a less provocative title. So as usual artistic expression was sacrificed so that the suits could rest easier and deflect the blame if sales just don’t meet or exceed expectations. Makes me wonder how much they might have shelled out to conduct whatever marketing analyses may have contributed to that conclusion.
The book is a very engaging mystery but also very grim and the author’s portrayal of society is not exactly mainstream, so despite all the snazzy packaging and name change, it still won’t likely be everyone’s cup of tea anyway. Here’s an informative review/excerpt from NPR for anyone interested: