"There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me

( 10 )

Overview

Here is the real inside story—not the one about the Stieg Larsson phenomenon, but rather the love story of a man and a woman whose lives came to be guided by politics and love, coffee and activism, writing and friendship. Only one person in the world knows that story well enough to tell it with authority. Her name is Eva Gabrielsson.

Eva Gabrielsson and Stieg Larsson shared everything, starting when they were both eighteen until his untimely death thirty-two years later at the ...

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Overview

Here is the real inside story—not the one about the Stieg Larsson phenomenon, but rather the love story of a man and a woman whose lives came to be guided by politics and love, coffee and activism, writing and friendship. Only one person in the world knows that story well enough to tell it with authority. Her name is Eva Gabrielsson.

Eva Gabrielsson and Stieg Larsson shared everything, starting when they were both eighteen until his untimely death thirty-two years later at the age of fifty. In “There Are Things I Want You to Know” about Stieg Larsson and Me, Eva Gabrielsson accepts the daunting challenge of telling the story of their shared life steeped in love and sharpened in the struggle for justice and human rights. She chooses to tell it in short, spare, lyrical chapters, like snapshots, regaling Larsson’s readers with the inside account of how he wrote, why he wrote, who the sources were for Lisbeth and his other characters—graciously answering Stieg Larsson’s readers’ most pressing questions—and at the same time telling us the things we didn’t know we wanted to know—about love and loss, death, betrayal, and the mistreatment of women.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In this candid, moving work, Gabrielsson chronicles her life's journey with her longtime companion, Stieg Larsson, the Swedish creator of the Millennium trilogy who died suddenly at age 50, in 2004, before the first volume of his phenomenally successful work (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in English) was even published. Gabrielsson tells that she had little legal recourse in Sweden to claim his literary and intellectual property even though the childless couple had lived together in Stockholm for 30 years and shared passions for science fiction and political activism; they edited and published their joint antifascist, antiracist newsletter, Expo, begun in the mid-1990s, to combat a wave of extreme right-wing militancy in Sweden. The rights to Larsson's literary trilogy fell posthumously to his father and brother, who shut Gabrielsson out. Gabrielsson writes about their similarities: both came from simple farm people, abandoned as children by their parents to be raised largely by grandparents; they met at a student anti-Vietnam War meeting in 1972 and together moved through leftist movements to find meaningful work, Larsson at the Swedish news agency TT, and Gabrielsson as an architect. Much of their political engagement and feminism is reflected in the Millennium books, the writing of which developed much later in Larsson's career-as Gabrielsson, evidently the person who understood him as few did, warmly, lovingly depicts in this spirited defense of their relationship.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

David Carr
Fans of [Stieg Larsson's] books looking for an intimate peek into the life of a man who summoned a dark, scary version of Sweden will not be disappointed, but that understanding does not come easily. The book is a short, highly emotional tour though a widow’s grief and dispossession, and the details of the couple’s life together are jarringly juxtaposed with blood feuds and score-settling.
&#151The New York Times Book Review
From the Publisher
"If you are obsessed with Larsson's writing . . . dig in." —-USA Today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609803636
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 6/21/2011
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 8.56 (w) x 5.56 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Eva Gabrielsson
EVA GABRIELSSON is an architect, author, and political activist. Currently her architectural practice includes housing and office construction and heading a European Union initiative to create sustainable architecture in the Dalecarlia region. As an author, in addition to working with Stieg Larsson on his writing projects, she is the coauthor of several books, including a monograph on the subject of cohabitation in Sweden, a Swedish government study on how to create more sustainable housing, and a forthcoming study on the Swedish urban planner Per Olof Hallman. She has also translated into Swedish Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. As an activist, she works to stop violence against women. In 2010 she served as a consultant on a Danish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by the Nørrebro Theatre Company.

 Eva Gabrielsson and Stieg Larsson met in 1972, when they were both eighteen, and lived and wrote together from 1974 until his death in 2004. Their struggle together for social justice was the basis for the books in Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.

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Read an Excerpt

"There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me


By Eva Gabrielsson

Seven Stories Press

Copyright © 2011 Eva Gabrielsson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-60980-363-6


Chapter One

In the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the novel that opens The Millennium Trilogy, Mikael Blomkvist discovers a photo taken during the Children's Day Parade in Hedeby, the oldest neighborhood in the small town of Hedestad, on the day Harriet Vanger disappeared. Seeking information about that day to help him understand what might have frightened the teenager away, he hunts for the tourist couple who photographed the parade forty years earlier. His research takes him into northern Sweden, first to Norsjö, then to Bjursele, in Västerbotten County. Why there? For most Swedes, those are godforsaken places at the back of beyond, but Stieg knew them well. It was there that he went as a baby in 1955 to live with his maternal grandparents. His father and mother, Erland Larsson and Vivianne Boström, were too young to bring him up properly, and they left to live 600 miles away in the south. In 1957 they moved again to Umeå (pronounced Umio), a small city 125 miles southeast of Norsjö.

Writing about Norsjö and Bjursele was Stieg's way of paying homage to the small community of people there who gave him the best moments of his youth. And a way of thanking them for the values they instilled in him.

* * *

Stieg lived with his grandparents in a small wooden house on the edge of a forest. Their home had a kitchen and one other room, without water, electricity, or an indoor toilet. This kind of house is typical of the Swedish countryside and its family farms, and in those days, when the next generation took over the farm, the old folks would "retire" to such a place. The walls of Stieg's grandparents' house were poorly insulated, and the joints between the planks were probably crammed with sawdust in the old style. The kitchen woodstove on which his grandmother cooked the meals was the only source of heat. In the winter, the temperature outside could drop to as low as -35 degrees Celsius, with—at most—thirty minutes of daylight, and Stieg used to ski cross-country to the village school in the moonlight. Prompted by his natural curiosity, he tirelessly explored the surrounding forests, lakes, and trails, hoping to meet other people and catch glimpses of animals, too. Life was tough where he lived, so it took plenty of ingenuity to survive, but such an environment breeds hardy individuals, self-reliant, resourceful, generous folks who can be counted on in a pinch. Like Stieg.

According to Stieg, his maternal grandfather, Severin, was an anti-Nazi communist who was imprisoned in an internment camp during World War II. After the war, such militants were not exactly welcomed back into society. Even at the time, people didn't want to talk about this period in Swedish history, and what happened then is still not common knowledge today. In 1955, Severin quit his job in a factory and left Skelleftehamn—where Stieg was born—to move into that small wooden house with his wife and their baby grandson. To support his little family, Severin repaired bikes and engines and did odd jobs on the local farms. Stieg adored going hunting and fishing with him. At the beginning of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mikael Blomkvist accepts an offer from Henrik Vanger, Harriet Vanger's uncle, to move into the guest house not far from Hedestad. It's the middle of winter, and he describes the "ice roses that formed on the inside of the windows": they were the same ones that used to fascinate Stieg in his grandparents' home, roses that grew from vapor in the family's breath and the water always boiling on the stove. He never forgot those magnificent visions, or the cold he could describe from personal experience. His childhood was a hard one, but it was full of joy and affection.

In black-and-white family snapshots, a little boy smiles between two grown-ups who've been having fun disguising themselves for the camera. Those two taught Stieg that nothing is impossible in this life. And that chasing after money is contemptible. His grandfather had an old Ford Anglia, the motor of which he'd probably repaired thanks to his skills as a mechanic and handyman, and this very car, with AC on its license plate for Västerbotten, is the one Mikael must track down during his search for Harriet Vanger. To write his trilogy, Stieg used a thousand such small details taken from life. From his life, from mine, and from ours.

Excerpt from "There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson (Seven Stories Press, June 2011).

(Continues...)



Excerpted from "There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson Copyright © 2011 by Eva Gabrielsson . Excerpted by permission of Seven Stories Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the First American Paperback Edition ix

Foreword xiii

Speaking of Coffee 3

Early Days 7

Our Mamas 15

Meeting 21

The Trip to Africa 29

Stockholm 33

The TT Agency 39

Expo 43

Threats 51

Millennium 59

Stieg's Journalistic Credo 63

Feminism 67

At the Heart of the Bible 73

The Duty of Vengeance 77

Addresses in The Millennium Trilogy 81

The Characters 89

Grenada 101

Sailing 105

Schemes and Scams 109

Heading for Publication 113

November 2004 123

The Aftermath 133

Goodbyes 137

The Vengeance of the Gods 145

My 2005 Diary 155

2005-2010 187

supporteva.com 197

The Fourth Volume 201

Acknowledgments 207

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2011

    Really moving

    A beautiful, heartbreaking love story. Much more about Eva and Stieg's relationship (spanning over 3 decades!) and the grief of losing one's soulmate than it is about the Millennium books and ensuing controversy. Highly recommended.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    Buy this immediately!

    It proves that in the eyes of the law, marriage has absolutely nothing to do with loving someone. It's a business contract plain and simple.

    This author's choice to not bind their love legally was a personal decision I applaud. More so, when someone goes into a room to write a book, the entire family (most certainly the significant other), is just as much a part of that process as the author. Ideas are shared and text is edited. I wholeheartedly believe Eva Gabrielsson was as much responsible for the success of the characters as was Stieg Larsson.

    In his honor I purchased this book, and in honor of their choice to not mix up a good thing with the letter of the law, I wish her all the financial and emotional success she deserves.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    I dont know

    I think that some of the people will love it but i dont know that right know because i didnt read it so i guess that some of us r going to like it and some of u guys will hate it so thats all im going to say if u want to learn more read other peoples about what they wrote about the book :D

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    Don't waste your money

    I loved the Millenium Trilogy which is the reason I purchased Eva Gabrielsson book. It is appalling that the Swedish government does not recognize a common law union and their laws need to changed immediately. Stieg's father's and brother's behavior is unconscionable. Eva is absolutely entitled to share in Stieg's estate and my heart goes out to her for her tremendous loss. I know the pain of losing a loved one. That being said, Eva's book was a total disappointment. Although I did learn about Stieg's earlier life and his struggles I found the book to be just a rambling whiney diatribe of a very self-absorbed woman. I could not wait to finish this book. It was torture reading it but once I start a book I read it to the end whether I like it or not. I did not like this book at all and I don't think I like this woman very much. I'm very sorry I spent my hard-earned money on this trash.

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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