(Finished August 4, 2011)
Shout out to all my fellow Millennium trilogy lovers. For you, this is a MUST READ. For those of you who haven’t read the Millennium trilogy, stop wasting your time with my blog right now, go to your local used bookstore or library or your ebookstore if you must and GET THEM.
I had heard news here and there about how Stieg Larsson’s longtime partner was treated after his death and the rise in popularity of his novels. When I heard she was writing a book about the events that transpired, I couldn’t wait to read it. The addition of information about their life together and how it influenced, and basically wrote, the triology, was a major bonus.
Although the organization of the book is a little lacking, it works to outline Eva and Stieg’s relationship while telling about his professional accomplishments while telling about how he wrote the Millennium and what his wishes would have been for the books. It speaks of Eva’s relationship with Stieg, his parents and brother. For the most part, Eva strikes a good balance among the topics she wants to discuss, but I also felt like she gets a little too personal at points.
For example, she copies word for word a poem she wrote for Stieg after his death, and a letter he wrote for her to be opened upon his death. These things are examples of something I would find much too personal to share. Sure, you probably know that Stieg wouldn’t have wanted his books scattered around like simple pop fiction, but it seems that he also probably wouldn’t have wanted a personal letter out there for everyone to see. Or maybe that’s just me. My theory is that Eva put those personal things in there to solidify her point — that she was the only one he would have wanted to take care of his intellectual remains.
I found it fascinating that the crime and racism and general political scene that Larsson described in the Millennium series actually existed. He wasn’t making things up — not at all. His real life work dealt with many of the same things that Mikael deals with in the trilogy. So much that happens in the books is taken from Larsson’s real life and happenings in Sweden that greatly affected him and the entire country.
Eva mentioned one good thing that came from these books was that Sweden was finally seen for what it is — a place with its own problems and faults. She and Stieg worked for years to tell the world about the wrongs being done there, but it took the books, and his death, to finally bring many of these issues to the forefront for the international (and Swedish mainstream) media.
Overall, this book was a really great (and quick) read. Quick anecdote: I was reading a section of this book on the train on my way home from work one day. The particular section I was reading was in diary form. The guy sitting next to be started reading over my shoulder and asked, “Why do you choose to read at that grade level? It’s so beneath you.”
Well, sir, you don’t know me. And if it wasn’t actually an incredibly easy-to-read book, I would have been offended. I kind of was anyway. I enjoyed the ease with which Eva wrote meaningful descriptions of her life with Stieg.
Sometimes simple and meaningful is perfect.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars