But would Larsson himself have approved?
Earlier this week the global publishing industry was astir with the news that there is a new “Stieg Larsson” novel in the works. We put “Stieg Larsson” in quotation marks, because this new work is not the much-discussed “fourth” or “fifth” novel by the deceased author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo we are discussing here. Rather, it is a novel written by author David Lagercrantz for the Swedish publisher Norstedts, which together with Larsson’s father and brother controls the exploitation of the literary rights associated the Tattooed Girl trilogy. Like deceased thriller writers from Robert Ludlum to Robert Parker to Ian Fleming, a new series of novels written under license will bring Larsson’s characters, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, back to life.
From what we know of Larsson, we doubt very much he would have approved of this if he were still alive. But we will reserve judgment until we see how Lagercrantz articulates Larsson’s ideas, characters, and vision in the new book.
Below are highlights from an AP report as published in the Washington Post on the story:
The Swedish publisher of the best-selling “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy said Tuesday it has hired an author to write a sequel to the series by Stieg Larsson, who died in 2004. Norstedts said it signed a contract with David Lagercrantz, the author of “I am Zlatan,” a biography of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the captain of Sweden’s soccer team, to write a new novel about journalist Mikael Blomqvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander that is scheduled to be published in August 2015.
The head of publishing at Norstedts, Eva Gedin, told The Associated Press the new book will be an original work that includes nothing from the fourth novel in the series that Larsson began writing but hadn’t finished when he died at age 50.
Gedin said the decision to continue the series had been taken after careful considerations and long discussions with Larsson’s father and brother, Erland and Joakim Larsson, who own the rights to his work.
Lagercrantz said he was really skeptical about the idea of writing a fourth book in the series at first, but that changed when he reread Larsson’s novels. “I increasingly felt that these characters, Blomqvist and Salander, deserved a longer life,” he told The Associated Press.
He wouldn’t reveal anything about the plot, but said: “In the times we live in, where we are monitored by American authorities like the NSA, a hacker like Lisbeth Salander is needed.”
Larsson’s longtime partner, Eva Gabrielsson, who has been in a legal dispute with Erland and Joakim over the rights to the trilogy, told daily newspaper Aftonbladet that she finds it “tasteless” to try to make more money out of something that is already so successful. “I guess I think it’s greedy. It’s already a multimillion industry,” she was quoted as saying.
Gabrielsson and Larsson were a couple for more than 30 years, but they never married. Larsson didn’t leave a will, so only his brother and father inherited the rights to his works.
Since Larsson’s death the whereabouts of his unfinished fourth manuscript have been a mystery. Gabrielsson first said she had a laptop containing the manuscript, but later said she does not have it and does not want to see any other book in the Millennium series published.