The author of the bestselling Millennium trilogy still provides posthumous intrigue for his fans and friends. In Stieg Larsson: Our Days in Stockholm, his colleague Kurdo Baksi continues the dialogue, answering questions for fans about Larsson’s life. The slim volume is out this week. Here are 10 things you may not have know about Larsson:
Larsson wrote under a pen name—sort of. His birth name was Karl Stig-Erland Larsson. He changed it to what he thought was a more writerly form as a teenager, when he decided to become a journalist.
A journalist specializing in covering right-wing extremist groups, Larsson was not well known in Sweden until his novels began to appear. He took up writing them while on vacation in the summer of 2002. According to his partner, he thought of those novels as his “pension fund.”
Larsson’s first book, published in 1991, grew out of his journalistic beat. It was called Extremhögern, or The Extreme Right.
Larsson was often threatened because of his reportage. Although he knew how to drive, he didn’t have a driver’s license or own a car—police had warned him that the easiest way for a criminal to find a target was through a search of vehicle licenses.
The original title of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in Swedish, is Män Som Hatar Kvinnor, which means “men who hate women.”
Although the books were published as a trilogy, Larsson conceived The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest as a single volume. If published as Larsson intended, that volume would weigh in at more than 1,800 pages.
Larsson died at the age of 50 in November 2004. He smoked two packs of cigarettes and drank 20 cups of coffee a day, lived on fast food and reportedly hated green vegetables.
Larsson also died without leaving a will. Apart from the Millennium trilogy, at least one book-length manuscript has been discovered among his papers. No one knows when it will appear, though, as his estate will likely be bound in litigation for years to come.
As of June 2010, sales of Larsson’s books exceeded 35 million worldwide—about four times the population of Sweden.
As a child, Larsson was a passionate student of astronomy. Before he became a journalist, he aspired to write science fiction. The national library of Sweden has several of his sci-fi manuscripts—most written when he was 17—in its collection.
Stieg Larsson: Our Days in Stockholm
Kurdo Baksi; translated by Laurie Thompson
Pegasus / Dec. 6, 2010 / 9781605981741 / $22.00