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. we are all reading the triligy here on the mornington peninsular vic australia summer 2010. I want more too. Too bad about no equal rights – goes with the story of Salander. Perhaps his defacto wife may defect to Australia to publish.

    got another good read to recommend? lagranVivi

    ,

    1. The language doesn’t matter – the sentiment being expressed does. Good on you!!.

      – Heather harvey New Zealand,

  2. we are all reading the triligy here on the mornington peninsular vic australia summer 2010. I want more too. Too bad about no equal rights – goes with the story of Salander. Perhaps his defacto wife may defect to Australia to publish.

    got another good read to recommend? lagranVivi

    1. The language doesn’t matter – the sentiment being expressed does. Good on you!!.

      – Heather harvey New Zealand

  3. Awesome books he wrote!!! I will definitely buy his other books..

    I hope all the best for Eva and if there is a story to write about your life I will most certainly want to read as well … =)

    Sonya – Australia,

  4. Awesome books he wrote!!! I will definitely buy his other books..

    I hope all the best for Eva and if there is a story to write about your life I will most certainly want to read as well … =)

    Sonya – Australia – ,

  5. A few writers like Stieg left in this world… I feel so lucky to have read al Larssons books.

    Mexico,

  6. Stieg Larssons last three books were some of

    the best I have ever read.I wish there were more!

    Pamela M Burton,

  7. Stieg Larssons last three books were some of

    the best I have ever read.I wish there were more!

    Pamela M Burton,

  8. I have just finished the third book in the Millennium Series. What a big loss to the reading world for loosing such a brilliant author!! To the family – your argument and dispute with Eva – what I can gather from his books, this is not how he would have like you to treat his life long partner. Please put your differences aside so that Eva can publish the fourth book in the series.

    Yvette Swanepoel – South Africa,

    1. Me, too. Read them quickly, cared about the main characters. I just saw the Swedish film, and thought it was too gory and left out too much. I hope the US remake will be better.So sad he died, so sorry his partner is being excluded from the inheritance.I deeply appreciate Larsson’s struggle against fascism.

      – Gila Svirsky, Jerusalem,

  9. I have just finished the third book in the Millennium Series. What a big loss to the reading world for loosing such a brilliant author!! To the family – your argument and dispute with Eva – what I can gather from his books, this is not how he would have like you to treat his life long partner. Please put your differences aside so that Eva can publish the fourth book in the series.

    Yvette Swanepoel – South Africa,

    1. Me, too. Read them quickly, cared about the main characters. I just saw the Swedish film, and thought it was too gory and left out too much. I hope the US remake will be better.So sad he died, so sorry his partner is being excluded from the inheritance.I deeply appreciate Larsson’s struggle against fascism.

      – Gila Svirsky, Jerusalem

  10. Lucky me. I have one more to go. I read the second book this weekend non-stop and I just caught the fact that Mr. Larsson has crossed over from the tiny note in the first pages. I was really surprised and sad. I’ve never read any author who wrote like he does about women and the challenges they face. I also had a very different view about Swedish culture in that regard. Gratitude – Lots for him.

    Grayson Porter,

  11. Lucky me. I have one more to go. I read the second book this weekend non-stop and I just caught the fact that Mr. Larsson has crossed over from the tiny note in the first pages. I was really surprised and sad. I’ve never read any author who wrote like he does about women and the challenges they face. I also had a very different view about Swedish culture in that regard. Gratitude – Lots for him.

    Grayson Porter,

  12. I started on his first book, and while the story line seems great, the ridiculous amount of product placement inside the story really spoils it for me.

    Is there no end to greed?

    I am still deciding whether to finish this book; I will NOT go buy the others. Unless they are avalable in sanitised versions.

    Rudy, Centurion,

    1. I agree with you, Yvette. After reading the first two books, I have the strong feeling that he would not want Eva to be treated this way. Quite the opposite

      – Patricia A Pease,

  13. I started on his first book, and while the story line seems great, the ridiculous amount of product placement inside the story really spoils it for me.

    Is there no end to greed?

    I am still deciding whether to finish this book; I will NOT go buy the others. Unless they are avalable in sanitised versions.

    Rudy, Centurion,

    1. I agree with you, Yvette. After reading the first two books, I have the strong feeling that he would not want Eva to be treated this way. Quite the opposite

      – Patricia A Pease

  14. I read that Stieg Larson died suddenly from a heart attack in 2004. He wasn’t even 50 years old. I understand that he was a heavy smoker, much like his protagonist Mike Blomkvist. It is a great loss to the literary world, and to freedom and human rights, as well. It appears to me that since he lived most of his adult life in a relationship with Eva Gabrielsson, they would be considered as a common-law married couple in most Western countries. Therefore, in the absence of any descendants or a will, it would follow that she should inherit his entire estate.

    Ruth N. Philadelphia,

    1. Rudy, I just finished it & I can’t recall a single product…are they Swedish products you are refering to?

      – Angel, USA,

  15. I read that Stieg Larson died suddenly from a heart attack in 2004. He wasn’t even 50 years old. I understand that he was a heavy smoker, much like his protagonist Mike Blomkvist. It is a great loss to the literary world, and to freedom and human rights, as well. It appears to me that since he lived most of his adult life in a relationship with Eva Gabrielsson, they would be considered as a common-law married couple in most Western countries. Therefore, in the absence of any descendants or a will, it would follow that she should inherit his entire estate.

    Ruth N. Philadelphia,

    1. Rudy, I just finished it & I can’t recall a single product…are they Swedish products you are refering to?

      – Angel, USA

  16. I couldn’t wait to read the last of the 3 books; and then took ages to finish the final chapters in the 3rd book because there were no more. What a terrible loss – for Larsson to have died.

    I did read on another site that a 4th book was close to completion, with several others in some stage of outlining…and that Eva worked with him on these and knew where to take the storyline, etc. But, then his father and brother stepped in and, INHO, screwed her. Still, the last I saw was that either together or with court pressure the 3 of them were coming to some agreement.

    Francella,

  17. I couldn’t wait to read the last of the 3 books; and then took ages to finish the final chapters in the 3rd book because there were no more. What a terrible loss – for Larsson to have died.

    I did read on another site that a 4th book was close to completion, with several others in some stage of outlining…and that Eva worked with him on these and knew where to take the storyline, etc. But, then his father and brother stepped in and, INHO, screwed her. Still, the last I saw was that either together or with court pressure the 3 of them were coming to some agreement.

    Francella,

  18. Stieg and Eva had a life under constant threat?

    That is not a good way to live, for sure. Why not just leave Sweden and live elsewhere, in cognito? I am sure money was not an issue, and he had ample opportunity to leave. But that was their choice…..

    Perhaps the stress, along with the smokes and heavy coffee consumption precipitated that heart attack in 2004? A horrible price to pay. I am sure he had more good book in him to be written as time went by. Sad outcome all the way around.

    Steffe,

  19. I have read the first two Larsson novels, and am waiting excitedly for the third. I agree with the comment that Larsson knew the way women think; ie his great portrayal of Salander. He ws indeed a briliant writer and his untimely death is a loss to the literary as well as the entire world. I hope thiat his life partner Eva, gets the rights to his writings, as it sounds like she helped him write the novels.

    Colleen Rae,

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