Several new books and other cultural works call to mind the legacy of Stieg
Larsson as an author and the unforgettable power of his character, Lisbeth Salander.
- A Darker Shade of Sweden, edited by our colleague John-Henri Holmberg (co-author of The Tattooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time), introduces English language readers to 20 Swedish crime writers. Published by Mysterious Press, the book includes stories never before published in English from Stieg Larsson as well as his partner of three decades, Eva Gabrielsson.
- In her current bestseller, The Goldfinch, author Donna Tartt gives an intriguing and slightly backhanded tribute to Larsson when one of the characters discusses his reaction to Dostoevsky’s classic, The Idiot. Boris, an important character in this gripping, neo-Dickensian tale, says that The Idiot so disturbed him he never wanted to read fiction again. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the only novel he mentions by name that he has read since his last experience with Dostoevsky.
- Jimmy Carter’s just published book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, takes up many of the themes Stieg Larsson wrote about in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy – the many ways women are abused and oppressed in the modern world, even in the most advanced and progressive-minded countries. Introducing the book, the publisher (Simon & Schuster) notes: “The world’s discrimination and violence against women and girls is the most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of basic human rights: This is President Jimmy Carter’s call to action. President Carter was encouraged to write this book by a wide coalition of leaders of all faiths. His urgent report covers a system of discrimination that extends to every nation. Women are deprived of equal opportunity in wealthier nations and “owned” by men in others, forced to suffer servitude, child marriage, and genital cutting. The most vulnerable, along with their children, are trapped in war and violence.”
- Larsson fans continue to wonder – and worry – about the forthcoming “fourth” novel in the Larsson series. Stieg Larsson himself died shortly after completing his trilogy and before the first publication of the books. As we discussed in our last post, Larsson’s Swedish publisher, Norstedts, has commissioned a Swedish writer, David Lagercrantz, to write an officially sanctioned fourth novel that is reportedly to be Lagercrantz’s own invention, rather than a completion if the mysterious “fourth” Larsson novel that was much discussed after his death. According to media reports: “Lagercrantz himself commented endearingly to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: “Help, what can you say, I hope this will work out. It is amazing and I have already started writing, but it is a huge responsibility.” But he also stressed that his contribution would not build on or adapt the 200 pages or so of a fourth volume that Larsson had begun writing before his death: “This is not that, this is something new. I am creating my own intrigue, but he has left strings of ideas for me to follow. I will carry on his legacy, I will keep his characters, but I also have to give something of my own. The characters will continue but also evolve.” And while Lagercrantz will take on the characters of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, the new book will be “a standalone part of the Millennium series.”
- The spirit of Lisbeth Salander continues to show up in literature and culture in many ways. Our guest blogger Jill Yesko, for example, has just published a novella, Murder in the Dog Park, whose protagonist is inspired by Lisbeth and Yesko’s deep interest in the Larsson series.
- Meanwhile, if you are looking to Nordic culture for a European update to The West Wing or for a more optimistic and more female point of view on politics than House of Cards, you should check out Borgen, a Danish television series dealing with the life and times of a fictional first female prime minister of Denmark. (The actual first female prime minister of Denmark was elected shortly after the TV series began airing.) We think Stieg Larsson would have liked this.