The latest evidence that Stieg Larsson’s novels remain “the hottest books on the planet” can be found both in the sales figures (50 million and counting) as well as in the sustained attention to them by commentators across a wide variety of media. The most recent is “The Moralist,” a cover by Tim Parks in the current issue of The New York Review of Books (June 9, 2011).
Parks focuses on the importance of Larsson as a moralist, and the attraction of so many readers to the stories because of their strong morality tale qualities. His most interesting contribution may be the many examples he cites to drive home his view that the books are fundamentally about control. The message Larsson gives us, says Parks, is that from sex to politics to international business “every attempt by one person to control another is evil.”