The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Why Lisbeth Salander’s Return Is Causing Controversy

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  • After Stieg Larsson’s death, another writer has continued the Dragon Tattoo adventures of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. And not everyone is happy

    What do you do when a bestselling author dies, but there are still crimes to be solved (and books to be sold)? You get someone else to write the ‘next’ one of course.

    Excuse me?

    When Swedish author Stieg Larsson died suddenly eleven years ago (aged 50), his best-selling Millenium series (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo/ Who Played With Fire/ Kicked The Hornets’ Nest) hadn’t even been published yet. The books went on to sell 75 million copies worldwide (14 million in the UK) and were made into films. Now the publishers are bringing out a sequel, The Girl In The Spider’s Web.

    How can they do that?

    David Lagercrantz (a former crime journalist) is writing it. He’s been chosen by Larsson’s father and brother, who now manage his literary estate. They say, ‘By letting David write his own Millenium novel we keep alive the characters and the universe Siteg Larsson created.’

    UK publishers, MacLehose Press state, ‘The reader of this fourth book will know exactly where they are. It will be like coming home, getting back into a hot bath you wished you hadn’t left on a winter’s day.’ Er…ok.

    So I suppose that’s alright?

    Hell, no. Larsson’s partner, Eva Gabrielsson, has slammed the decision, telling the news agency AFP, ‘They say heroes are supposed to live forever. That’s a load of crap. This is about money. It’s a publishing house that needs money, a writer who doesn’t have anything to write so he copies someone else.’ Ouch.

    How come she doesn’t have a say in this?

    Gabrielsson was Larsson’s partner for 32 years, but they weren’t married and he didn’t leave a will. (Random fact: Larsson’s political writing meant he was targetted by right-wing activitsts. The couple had to take great care and, had they married, Swedish law states their address would have to be on public record.) Despite a court battle, Gabrielsson lost any rights to his work or estate. She says that Larsson would have been livid at the turn of events. ‘Who knows,’ she added, ‘maybe he’ll send a lightning bolt at the book launch.’

    Is the new book any good?

    You’ll have to read it for yourself because – despite being translated into 38 languages – not one copy of The Girl In The Spider’s Web has been made available for review. The security surrounding it has been compared to Potter-mania. It was written on a computer with no internet access and delivered to the Swedish publishers by hand. Time will tell if it’s worth the hype.


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