Solidarity And Larsson

 

Reflections on Water
Reflections on Water

Reg Keeland, who goes by the pen name of Steven T. Murray, has a blog that is entitled “Stieg Larsson’s English Translator“.  Larsson is pretty big right now, especially with the American release of the Hollywood version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” scheduled for the near future. However, only a small bit of Larsson’s fame has been directed towards the busy translator, who is also capable of translating German, Danish and Norwegian into English. Still, Steven Murray manages to keep busy with his translation work and his blog is always a good source of information on Scandinavian writers, who are doing book tours in America.

Lately, a different type of story appeared on Murray’s blog. It was a link to a website publication of a Swedish Organization called Solidarity and an article detailing Larsson’s past and his political activities around the world. The writer, Hakan Blomqvist, was a good friend of Stieg Larsson and knew the writer well. The article makes for an interesting exploration of Larsson’s background.

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Another Award For Stieg Larsson

Dust and the Helix Nebula; NASA, JPL-Caltech, Kate Su (Steward Obs., U. Arizona), et al.
Dust and the Helix Nebula; NASA, JPL-Caltech, Kate Su (Steward Obs., U. Arizona), et al.

Just before Christmas Stieg Larsson received yet another posthumous award. This time the participating body was the national newspaper, USA Today, and the title of the honor was “Author of the Year”. For Larsson, who died unexpectantly in 2004, appreciation for his Millennium Trilogy is still at high tide, especially here in the US, where the American version of “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is due to be released in December of this year.  With sales at 14 million in the US and 50 million worldwide, the Larsson phenomena still has some life to it.

Deirdre Donahue, who did the write-up for USA Today, describes Lisbeth Salander, the main character of the saga, as ” the digital age’s first true heroine”. In literary jargon, Lisbeth is a true anti-hero. With her cat-like actions, true status as a social outcast and computer savvy, Lisbeth’s actions have captured the hearts and minds of readers and moviegoers the world over. This fascination will likely continue at least until the end of 2011, when “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” hits American movie theaters. The fact that the subtitled Swedish version has already made the rounds of American art-film houses should do little to dampen the popularity of the upcoming release.

Stieg Larsson courtesy of Wikipedia
Stieg Larsson courtesy of Wikipedia

More On Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens in 2007
Christopher Hitchens in 2007

Recently, one of the more noteworthy of the planet’s writer-philosophers has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and as of late the writer has been making the literary rounds discussing his condition – and of course philosophizing about the whole event and what it all means.  And this philosopher is none other than Christopher Hitchens, one of the most widely read authors of the English language.

Mr. Hitchens even caught my eye when he wrote about Stieg Larsson and the popular posthumous success that has surrounded the Swedish writer, since The Millenium trilogy was published. In fact, that one little post has drawn more attention than anything else that I have written, for Hitchens very much liked Larsson’s writing and was glad to the literary world know about it in an article that appeared a while back in Vanity Fair.

Now Christopher Hitchens is back in Vanity Fair, solemnly contemplating his own demise and his unshakably stating his conviction as an atheist. In his Atlantic Monthly interview, Hitchens takes the time to discuss all the letters that he has received since his public declaration on the spread of his cancer to the lymph nodes.

According to the British writer, responses to his condition can be roughly divided into three groups. Those that wish him the best, even though the odds are against a successful recovery, those that hope for a deathbed confession and conversion and finally those that hope that Hitchens go straight to hell. And the big issue here is not his unwaivering support of the American-lead Iraq War, but rather a little book that he wrote entitled, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

This book has been in the book stores for a few years now and whenever I see the catchy title I often pick the manuscript up, just to sample a paragraph or two. And from what I’ve read, it’s not hard to see how the non-fiction title became such a big seller. However, one just can’t help but wonder, if somehow his current situation is not in somehow pyschically related to his commercial success with the atheist title. Of course, Hitchens has categorically denied anything of such a nature and has even stated that if in the future, he ever comes out with a statement that is the least bit similar to a confession or conversion that it should be automatically rejected as a by product of the chemotherapy or pain-killing drugs.

Still I would like to join the first group of writers and hope for a recovery for the “Hitch” as he likes to be called. I am sure that the writer has plans for other literary efforts and I hope that they will be forthcoming in the near future.

God Is Great Debate in Alabama Christopher Hitchens and John Lennox
God Is Great Debate in Alabama Christopher Hitchens and John Lennox





Dragon Tattoo Comes To America

Noomi Rapace who plays the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Noomi Rapace who plays the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I finally got a chance to see the “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” the other night and despite all attention the book and movie has garnered lately, I was completely surprised and engrossed by the film. I have not read the book so I did not know what to expect.

It wasn’t  a fast-paced film like so many American crime-action films tend to be, but yet a very captivating undertaking that delves  into the dark side of modern Swedish society.

The performances were first rate, especially that put on by Miss Rapace, as she was very convincing as the hard-edged computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander.

I was surprised to learn that the director was from nearby Denmark. Niels Arden Oplev has been around Scandinavian TV and film for a while, but his stint as director for “Dragon Tattoo” ought to put him on par with the other world-traveling Danish film director, Lars von Trier. In fact, according to the NY Times article cited above Mr. Oplev is buying a house in the “states”, so keep an eye out for his name to appear in association with future American film projects.

And then there is the American version of  “Girl With The Golden Tattoo”, which is still in the casting stage. The director has been named. He is David Fincher and the lead role of Lisbeth Salander will go to a British actress named Carey Mulligan.  No idea to when filming will begin, but the eventual release date is tentatively scheduled for 2012. David Fincher is a well acclaimed director, whose last release was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, but the choice of  Ms. Mulligan has to be a bit of a surprise, as her previous roles have portrayed very different characters.  Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the British actress deals with her new challenge and how the American version comes out. Mr. Fincher has some gritty and somber films to his credit, so it will be fun to see how he deals with doing a foreign repeat.

Niels Arden Oplev
Niels Arden Oplev, the director of "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo".

The Swedish version of “Dragon Tattoo”, so far has taken in over 2 million dollars worth of sales. Not much for an American film, but  respectable for a sub-titled foreign film, especially one that is not French. The other two parts of the Millenium series will be released with English subtitles later this year.

There May Be a New Stieg Larsson Book On the Way

Girl Who Played With Fire images
Girl Who Played With Fire

This book is not written by Stieg Larsson and though it may mention the writer in the title and throughout the manuscript, it is more about the process of grief. When the book is actually published (August in France is an educated guess), it will be Eva Gabrielsson’s story of how she dealt with the sudden and unexpected death of her common law husband.  Details are sketchy on the books release, mainly because of the immense popularity and financial success that has now surrounded the story of The Millenium Trilogy.

In a twenty minute interview done with a reporter for Swedish National Television (English subtitles are supplied) Ms. Gabrielsson actually reveals the plans for two books. According to the soon-to-be author, the other book will concern common-law marriages in Sweden. No title for the common-law book was mentioned, but the other title might be called “The Year After Stieg”. Again Eva seems to be deliberately vague in order to avoid too much advance publicity. Visit this site and watch the interview for details. It is well worth the time.

In fact much valuable information is presented in the interview concerning Mr. Larsson’s feminism and some insights into what early events in his life might have spurred him on to write the three novels with the female heroine.

Eva Gabrielsson

Eva Gabrielsson’s Dilemma

The Millennium Trilogy

With growing movie rights and expanding book sales the Millennium trilology, a series of three crime novels written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson is generating a huge world wide interest that has traveled far beyond his native home of Sweden. Now that the new year has arrived, sales from this popular literary series continue to climb, but unfortunately the crime writer, who died of a heart attack six years ago was never able to see the fruits of his workaholic writing habit, which now surpasses 20 million (that’s in pounds). Besides the money there are the numerous awards that have been bestowed upon the popular writer, as well as a host of film and TV versions, including a Hollywood offering, which has yet to select its cast. The Swedish version has already played all across Europe.

However, the story that has been making the rounds lately, and especially since we have entered a new year, is the human drama that surrounds the vast profits., Since Larsson died in 2oo4 and he never made out a will, all the money (that’s 20 million and still growing) has gone to his brother and father.

Currently written reports have been surfacing about the fate of Eva Gabrielsson, Stieg Larsson’s longtime partner, who never married Stieg, reportedly because of the dangerous nature of Larsson’s journalistic work. Check out Stieg Larsson: Losing the plot over his cash an article published late last year by London’s Times Online and written by Helen Rumbelow.

Just recently another article published by another British online biggie, The Mail, has also delved into the peculiar financial situation that is evolving around the rather large sum of profits that the trilogy has generated and will continue to do so long into the future. This article, entitled The Girl Who Didn’t Inherit A Fortune by Antonia Hoyle was just published online a few days ago and has been generating lots of interest on the web.

And finally,  for those readers and movie fans, who would like to help out Ms. Gabrielsson in her legal battle for a portion of the sales, here is a site, where you can do just that, plus keep tabs on the developing situation, for their are even rumors of a fourth unfinished novel.

Gamla Stan in Stockholm, Sweden