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 posed no problem since it was, after all, fiction and no one would threaten either Eva or himself because of it.

By Editor

2,225 thoughts on “Background”
  1. Just finished Dragon Tattoo , I’m glad my son introduced me to the books. M parents were antifascists and we still have to be vigilant. I was born in 1939 and didn’t expect to see history repeting itself

    Mike in Sheffield UK,

  2. I just finished watching the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was so engrossed by the story line that when I got home, I did research. I was totally unaware of how the extreme right is still so powerful in the world. I am watching events unfold in the U.S. with this very group under various guises (The Tea Party being one). Not only did the world lose a fantastic story teller, it also lost a beacon of light for rationality and human compassion.

    Mooska in the U.S.,

    1. When I first started reading your comments, I thought I had written them. I had started writing a book dealer with the very lines you used. This is an author that seems to be muted in the U.s.

      – Mooska in the U.S.,

    2. I agree…it was no secret that they were a couple and the only reason for not having “the piece of paper” was for their safety. Over 30 yrs! It is sad that Sweden cannot intervene and make that decision officially. It is more repugnant that his father and brother’s…greed supersede what is right. I feel bad for Eva…sad for her loss and sadly family cannot get past the greed. It happens far too often.My wish is that Eva succeeds in getting something….soon. Karma…..Good luck!

      – Luisa Fialho,

    3. If the country does not recognize the partnership of 30 years, and they did not want to get married (for whatever reason), I am surprised that there is no Last Will and Testament which would acknowledge Eva and give her everything. Governments should not just make an assignment because something would be right in the eyes of someone else, the people involved should take the initiative.

      – Ray,

  3. I love the first two books of the triology and am eagerly awaiting the summer when the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest will be on sale. I am 82 years of age and have been reading since I was 5 years old (any thing from Zane Grey to my older sisters & brothers 10cent western and love stories and I have never enjoyed any thing better than these books by Stieg Larsson. God rest his soul! Doris in Hillsboro, OH USA April 2010

    doris boggs,

    1. i wonder about his death too. i would like to know all the facts.did he have heart problems before his death?

      – myteddydoggmail.com

  4. Just finished Dragon Tattoo , I’m glad my son introduced me to the books. M parents were antifascists and we still have to be vigilant. I was born in 1939 and didn’t expect to see history repeting itself

    Mike in Sheffield UK,

  5. I just finished watching the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was so engrossed by the story line that when I got home, I did research. I was totally unaware of how the extreme right is still so powerful in the world. I am watching events unfold in the U.S. with this very group under various guises (The Tea Party being one). Not only did the world lose a fantastic story teller, it also lost a beacon of light for rationality and human compassion.

    Mooska in the U.S.,

    1. When I first started reading your comments, I thought I had written them. I had started writing a book dealer with the very lines you used. This is an author that seems to be muted in the U.s.

      – Mooska in the U.S.

    2. I agree…it was no secret that they were a couple and the only reason for not having “the piece of paper” was for their safety. Over 30 yrs! It is sad that Sweden cannot intervene and make that decision officially. It is more repugnant that his father and brother’s…greed supersede what is right. I feel bad for Eva…sad for her loss and sadly family cannot get past the greed. It happens far too often.My wish is that Eva succeeds in getting something….soon. Karma…..Good luck!

      – Luisa Fialho

    3. If the country does not recognize the partnership of 30 years, and they did not want to get married (for whatever reason), I am surprised that there is no Last Will and Testament which would acknowledge Eva and give her everything. Governments should not just make an assignment because something would be right in the eyes of someone else, the people involved should take the initiative.

      – Ray

  6. Wonderful writing. I have a friend who read the first book and is upset about

    the “dark side” and doesn’t want her children exposed. I haven’t figured out

    what she is talking about life has a dark element to it and if we stick out heads in the sand and ignore it had can we learn to make things better.

    AA,

  7. Wonderful writing. I have a friend who read the first book and is upset about

    the “dark side” and doesn’t want her children exposed. I haven’t figured out

    what she is talking about life has a dark element to it and if we stick out heads in the sand and ignore it had can we learn to make things better.

    AA,

  8. I have just finished Dragon Tattoo, I didn’t want to like it – but I loved it! I have ordered the other two books from Amazon. What scares me, is that here in England we don’t think of the far right as having any power, or being listened to – but how insidious is their influence? A great thought-provoking read! Given that we are about to have a General Election in this country it was also a timely read.

    GB,

  9. I have just finished Dragon Tattoo, I didn’t want to like it – but I loved it! I have ordered the other two books from Amazon. What scares me, is that here in England we don’t think of the far right as having any power, or being listened to – but how insidious is their influence? A great thought-provoking read! Given that we are about to have a General Election in this country it was also a timely read.

    GB,

  10. I was completely rivited to the first two volumes and am excitedly anticipating reading the third. I am also so glad for this site, to learn about Mr. Larsson, am saddened to know of his premature death and blesed that he left his books and his own amazing story behind.

    AnnD,

  11. I have finished botth of the Millennuim Books and I am now reading the final book in the trilogy which I find that they are brilliant books to read I have never heard of Stieg Larsson before that waas when the film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo being released I have read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire and now I am on the final book which is The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest and it is really gripping to read

    Alison Howard,

  12. I just put down the final book and had to jump straight online to keep reading about Larsson and his other writings. I was so taken by these stories and the way he depicted women as both heroines and victims. He brought such a great intelligence to the thriller genre. My mother, my father, my sister and all my close friends have read or are reading this. An amazing talent that will be greatly missed!

    SB Australia,

  13. Bought the first book and up until about the first 100 pages wondered what all the fuss was about, then I got hooked. Just finished the 2nd and bought the 3rd, when I saw how many pages I thought “I will never get any housework done now” They are gripping well told stories and very enlightening about the darker side of Sweden, I didn’t know they had Secret Police. Thank you Stieg.HC

    HC, Australia,

  14. I was completely rivited to the first two volumes and am excitedly anticipating reading the third. I am also so glad for this site, to learn about Mr. Larsson, am saddened to know of his premature death and blesed that he left his books and his own amazing story behind.

    AnnD,

  15. I have finished botth of the Millennuim Books and I am now reading the final book in the trilogy which I find that they are brilliant books to read I have never heard of Stieg Larsson before that waas when the film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo being released I have read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire and now I am on the final book which is The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest and it is really gripping to read

    Alison Howard ,

  16. I just put down the final book and had to jump straight online to keep reading about Larsson and his other writings. I was so taken by these stories and the way he depicted women as both heroines and victims. He brought such a great intelligence to the thriller genre. My mother, my father, my sister and all my close friends have read or are reading this. An amazing talent that will be greatly missed!

    SB Australia,

  17. Bought the first book and up until about the first 100 pages wondered what all the fuss was about, then I got hooked. Just finished the 2nd and bought the 3rd, when I saw how many pages I thought “I will never get any housework done now” They are gripping well told stories and very enlightening about the darker side of Sweden, I didn’t know they had Secret Police. Thank you Stieg.HC

    HC,Australia,

  18. I had never heard of Stieg Larsson and happened upon his books quite by mistake. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo looked interesting, so I bought it. I have just begun reading it and can’t put it down. I have ordered the second book, and will also order the third as soon as possible. I’m hooked!

    Mary Ellen A. – USA,

  19. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, a number of prominent politicians in the former Soviet Union died of sudden heart attacks. Quite puzzling.

    ,

  20. I had never heard of Stieg Larsson and happened upon his books quite by mistake. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo looked interesting, so I bought it. I have just begun reading it and can’t put it down. I have ordered the second book, and will also order the third as soon as possible. I’m hooked!

    Mary Ellen A. – USA,

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