Saturday, September 24, 2011

"There Are Things I Want You To Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson

This is a memoir written by Eva Gabrielsson, Stieg Larsson's life partner, in which she details her life with Mr. Larsson and the complications regarding his legacy and his estate which his untimely death caused. Stieg Larsson is the author of the insanely popular "Millennium Trilogy," which includes The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

The book was initially written in Swedish and translated into English in 2011, and begins with diary entries that Ms. Gabrielsson wrote in order to help her cope with the grief of losing a man that she had been in an extensive relationship with. Gabrielsson apparently took the title for the memoir from a letter that Mr. Larsson had written to her before a trip to Africa that he thought that he might not survive. The memoir details how the couple met and how Stieg tireless fought the right wing fascist movement.  He was also a tireless crusader for the rights of women, having become a feminist after witnessing the brutal rape of a girl during his youth.  As a result, he and Eva were often placed in danger and often received threats. Ms. Gabrielsson states that the major reason that they never married was because their marriage would make him an easy target for his enemies on the right, a valid concern after they received hateful voicemail messages and bullets in the mail.

She further describes the impact of Larsson's death on both her emotional life and her physical life.  Gabrielsson was, essentially, a wreck and became worse when Larsson's brother and father began to fight her over Larsson's estate and work.  Gabrielsson discusses feeling dispossessed and disempowered because she was not recognized as a wife, even though she and Larsson had lived that way for years.

I wasn't particularly thrilled by this book.  I felt like the writing wasn't that great and that it had been written and published with an eye towards getting support for a cause that might not otherwise have a lot behind it. I felt that it was too clean and that gave the impression of being disingenuous and dishonest.  Life isn't that clean.  I was left with a not so good taste in my mouth, as if the book was written to manipulate my feelings to get support for a cause and I didn't really like that.  I found the bits about Stieg Larsson's youth and life to be fascinating though, so if you're looking for information about that, the book does it justice. 

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