Stieg Larsson

Background

Stiegs grandfather, an inspiring role model

Stieg Larsson was born in Vasterbotten in northern Sweden in 1954. At the time of his birth, his parents were too young and too poor to keep him, so he was raised by his grandparents in a small village in the north of Sweden. Stieg’s grandfather, Severin Boström, became the male role model for the young Stieg. Severin was strongly anti-fascist (and during the Second World War he was imprisoned in the work camp in Storsien for his anti-Nazi opinions)*. Had he been Danish, he would no doubt have been placed in a German Concentration Camp. The fate of his grandfather deeply affected and shaped Stieg’s character. He wanted to protect equal rights and fight for democracy and freedom of speech in order to prevent history, and what happened to his grand father, from repeating itself.

* Stieg’s father, Erland Larsson, says to stieglarsson.com that nobody in the family can confirm the information about the camp.

Youth, left-wing movement and far travels

When Stieg was nine years old, his grandfather died and he moved to live with his parents and his younger brother. Stieg was given a typewriter for his 12th birthday, and he spent most nights of his youth staying up writing, keeping his family awake with the drumming sound. At 18 years of age he met Eva Gabrielsson at an anti-Vietnam War meeting in Umeå. Eva was to become his life long companion. With some short exceptions, mainly due to the fact that Stieg was sometimes too obsessed with his work, they lived together until Stiegs death the 9th November 2004. After his military service, Stieg travelled in Africa and has been described as “an early backpacker”. He rarely had enough money on his travels, in an interview with Norra Västerbotten in 2006, his father describes how he had to work as a dishwasher and sell his clothes to afford a ticket home from Algeria.

Stieg Larsson was also interested in Science Fiction. Among other things was he the chairman of the Scandinavian science fiction society and published two magazines.

A life under constant threat

During the last 15 years of his life, he and his life companion Eva Gabrielsson lived under constant threat from right-wing violence. When a labor-union leader was murdered in his home by neo-Nazis in 1999, the police discovered photos of and information about the couple in the murderer’s apartment. So it was not without reason that the couple took precautionary measures. They were never seen together outside the house, they moved mirrors in the hall and they always kept the blinds down. Those are just a few examples. Stieg was an expert in the area, and wrote a book of instructions on how journalists should respond to threats for the Swedish Union of Journalists (“Överleva Deadline”, 2000).

Writing as a relaxation

The situation created a contrast between Stieg’s work at Expo and his night-time novel writing. He regarded his writing of detective novels as relaxing. Keeping track of loose ends, characters and made up conspiracies posedno problem since it was, after all, fiction and no one would threaten either Eva or himself because of it.

2,225 comments on “Background”

  • islandfox says:

    I have read all four books and seen both american version and swedish versions of the movies that were made. Actually all four books are EXCELLENT – I’m thrilled that a fourth book was written and look forward to more…..I can see where the characters can keep going! I actually “read and listen” to the books and the reader is Simon Vance – an excellent ‘reader.’ I recommend listening to him read!

    - islandfox,


  • Sherrie Norman says:

    I saw both the American and the Swedish version’s of the books. I decided to read the books, but I didn’t hold much hope for them being any good. Almost always, once you watch the movie/movies, the books ( if you haven’t read them 1st) aren’t much good. I am so glad to say, that to me, both versions of the movies were good, but I personally think that the Swedish version was better than the American version. Both together made for a most interesting watch. The book?? Well I thought, and so did my Husband, that all 3 books were WONDERFUL!!! I was really surprised that the books to me were so good. I have read and watched the movies over again over again. I wish Stieg Larsson had not passed away. She was a super Author. This new book coming out by someone completely different, worries me. I really hope he can keep to what Stieg Larsson started with. I also have to wonder, (sure he died after turning in all three books) if Stieg Larsson meant for them to be the beginning and the end of the story. I guess time will tell. Yes I have pre-ordered the new book!!! I’ve got to at least try it out. Lol.

    - Sherrie Norman,


  • George Tzindaro says:

    Is a copy of the book on security precautions available? I would like to see it. If you know where I could find a copy, please send me an e-mail at tzindaro@yahoo.com

    Thank you.

    - George Tzindaro,


  • Cass Yalden says:

    One book down 2 to go (and a fourth I believe later this year- yay!). This book took a little while for me to get into but I’m now hooked!

    - Cass Yalden,


  • nathan scott says:

    I want to say I love the books and the videos that I have seen in the states.

    - nathan scott,


  • Donald Harrison says:

    We also should not forget to appreciate Reg Keeland who made the English translation interesting and gripping with the literature and wording.

    - Donald Harrison,


  • J. Martens says:

    I have only seen the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo which I thought was absolutely spectacular.

    I am glad to hear that a trilogy was written about the characters from the original book. I will have more suspenseful writing to look forward to now.

    It is ashamed that the world has lost Stein Larrson as a major writer for the 21st century.

    - J. Martens,


  • J. Martens says:

    I have only seen the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo which I thought was absolutely spectacular.

    I am glad to hear that a trilogy was written about the characters from the original book. I will have more suspenseful writing to look forward to now.

    It is ashamed that the world has lost Steig Larrson as a major writer for the 21st century.

    - J. Martens,


    • Margaret Gust, says:

      Well said!


    • Chris Williams, says:

      Alina. Stieg was not related with the artist Carl L. (Father of Stieg)

      - Erland Larsson,


  • J. Martens says:

    I have only seen the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo which I thought was absolutely spectacular.

    I am glad to hear that a trilogy was written about the characters from the original book. I will have more suspenseful writing to look forward to now.

    It is ashamed that the world has lost Steig Larrson as a major writer for the 21st century.

    - J. Martens,


    • Margaret Gust, says:

      I do not believe the Americans will try to remake..would be a calamity, a disaster and an insult . The film was magnificent, and my friend and I were so engrossed we did not realize we were reading by

      -lines. Cedit story line and cast

      -subperb together. I will always remember.

      - Lucy Ann Bacchus,


    • Chris Williams, says:

      I heard he had a fourth book in his computer which his girlfiend has in her possession. The rest of his estate went to his parents since he was not married to his girlfriend. The question is will his parents try to get custody of the computer!

      - Karen P. Kinnison,


  • J. Martens says:

    I have only seen the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo which I thought was absolutely spectacular.

    I am glad to hear that a trilogy was written about the characters from the original book. I will have more suspenseful writing to look forward to now.

    It is ashamed that the world has lost Steig Larrson as a major writer for the 21st century.

    - J. Martens,


    • Margaret Gust, says:

      Well said!


    • Chris Williams, says:

      Alina. Stieg was not related with the artist Carl L. (Father of Stieg)

      - Erland Larsson,


  • J. Martens says:

    I have only seen the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo which I thought was absolutely spectacular.

    I am glad to hear that a trilogy was written about the characters from the original book. I will have more suspenseful writing to look forward to now.

    It is ashamed that the world has lost Steig Larrson as a major writer for the 21st century.

    - J. Martens,


    • Chris Williams, says:

      Try to see the Swedish movies, they were spectacular.

      - Chris Williams,


    • Margaret Gust, says:

      I do not believe the Americans will try to remake..would be a calamity, a disaster and an insult . The film was magnificent, and my friend and I were so engrossed we did not realize we were reading by

      -lines. Cedit story line and cast

      -subperb together. I will always remember.

      - Lucy Ann Bacchus,


  • N. Bryan says:

    I saw both versions of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and decided to read the book. Finished that and I’m halfway through “The Girl Who Played with Fire”. Like others who have shared posts, I am riveted by these stories. They are SO different from most of the mysteries that make the best sellers list these days and I love Lisbeth Salander because she is such a unique and unconventional heroine. It is a shame Mr. Larsson’s career was cut short by his untimely death, which makes these novels even more precious.

    - N. Bryan,


  • Bartosz says:

    Enchanted with the trilogy. I love the feminism and critique of a modern state (of so admired abroad Swedish state, in particular) beaming from the story line. Just about to start the 3rd book, another sleepless night. Thanks Stieg.

    - Bartosz,


  • Trishaws Williams, NZ says:

    Have thoroughly enjoyed all 3 books. I didn’t want to finish them but couldn’t put them down. Such a shame we have lost an author of his ability. I did get confused with the Swedish names but that comes from being an English speaker. Thank you Stieg for such great books.

    - Trishaws Williams, NZ,


  • admin says:

    30.10.2014

    Hi I’m on the’ Hornets Nest I find the build up of his story telling quite different from anything I’ve read before. I loved finishing ‘Played with Fire’ and starting

    Hornets Nest it was like turning to the next chapter. Being from N. Ireland I tended to find the names of locations and people a bit distracting but after the 1st book decided to stop trying to pronounce them! Loved the books – only recently found out that he had died – have’nt yet found any details – so young so talented – Noeleen Hughes


  • Reme Hcnyl says:

    After some (unecessary,but necessary at the same time!) deliberation, decided to read a wee bit more…when you gasp,sigh and talk to yourself out loud about what you just read, then, yea, you can finally go to bed, knowing you can get some sleep before the next instalment. Can’t wait till tomorrow!

    - Reme Hcnyl,


  • Anne Ardell says:

    I am saddened by the untimely death of such a brilliant author. Outside of the literary comments I would like to touch on the personal and hope and pray that his father and brother would do the right thing and share the inheritance with Stieg’s life long partner Eva. Stieg’s loved her and would want you to do the right thing. If you do not this financial gain will bring you continuous problems. It has been 10 years since his death and I might be out of line not knowing that you have already done the right thing. Written with love and blessings.

    - Anne Ardell,


  • jls19456@gmail.com says:

    the girl with the dragon tattoo. i listen to it with ear phones, i have been listening to books for 10 years as my eyesight is not as it should be. It is the only book i listened to without interruption. I just could not put it down until i finished. never have i done that before or since. needless to say i immediately purchased the next 2 audio books. such a loss. to go so young.

    - jls19456@gmail.com,


  • Jack says:

    The chaotic feel of the books was so well reflected in his real life! Incredible author

    - Jack,


  • lynn says:

    excellent enjoyed it very much

    - lynn,


  • KayMc says:

    Such a great loss. I’m reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and loving it. I want it to last forever but get to the ending, too! His description of the different towns and cities in Sweden is fascinating and so precise — the names of the cafes and foodstuffs add another layer of interest in an amazing trilogy. Character development is phenomenal. I’ll be sad when I’m done but at least I’ll get some sleep then. For now, I’m losing plenty of that.

    - KayMc,


  • admin says:

    Am just starting the third novel of his Lisbeth Salander series, brilliant! Too bad to loose such s talent and activest.


    • Katyhleen, says:

      Ditto!

      - Dolores Sargeant,


  • Paco says:

    Sentí un inmenso vacío al saber que Larsson murió con la idea de dejar mas que 3 libros. La trilogía es espectacular, no me canse de leerla mas de 3 veces.

    - Paco,


  • jenn says:

    Fui tocada profundamente por su escritura. Lisbeth Salender es mi heroína y personaje favorito de todos los tiempos.

    - jenn,


  • Chari says:

    I’ve only just discovered Stieg’s books and did not know until now what his politics were. Eva, I am sorry for your loss of Stieg and your struggles with his family while you grieve.

    - Chari,


    • Dolores Sargeant, says:

      I agree with your comments Pamela and it is sad that such a good author has passed away and so tragically too. But I am now intrigued as to who has actually written the books as he did not seem to have that talent, perhaps he would have the plots and someone else was actually writing, possibly Eva with some more outside help? It doesn’t matter in the end as the books are superb and am sure that not all of it is fiction, such things do happen and am sure have happened, but just not with the same results or outcomes. The research for it must be fantastic and one would need a character like Salander’s to do it, so maybe she does exist too in some form. Truly amazing books and I hope the legal battles over the 4th book are overcome somehow and Eva gets her deserved share of the proceeds somehow. What a shame their laws are not the same as in N.America or elsewhere where a couple living together are considered equal to being a married couple. But that is life and it makes it interesting for others who are not going through it. I do feel for her though and as someone said, hope Justice will Prevail! Amen.

      - Rory,


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