Stieg: From Activist to Author
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Until the posthumous publication of the Millenium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson was probably best known for his commitment to left-wing causes, and his tireless work as an anti-fascist activist. Horrified by the rise of far-right extremism in Sweden, he threw himself into monitoring and exposing these often shadowy and violent groups and gained an international reputation for the depth of his achievements and knowledge. However his work carried substantial risks and he and his partner Eva Gabrielsson lived in constant fear for their lives.
Jan Erik-Pettersson shows how Stieg's activism and energetic championing of social justice and women's rights characterised his life, as well as demonstrating how these concerns animated his huge-selling Millennium Trilogy, in particular the unforgettable character of Lisbeth Salander. He also persuasively establishes Stieg's place within the explosion of Scandinavian crime with which his novels are so closely associated, showing that in many ways his fiction stands somewhat apart from the work of other authors in this tradition.
In Stieg Jan Erik-Pettersson portrays a man willing to put his life at risk in order to fight for the things in which he believed, and an author whose inimitable work was energized by the causes to which he was so strongly committed.
drew their inspiration and which made some hold fast to their fundamental credo – aggressive nationalism, racism, the belief that elites should rule – while other friends of Germany took down their portraits of Hitler and enrolled for correspondence courses in English. In the first volume of the Millennium series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, three just such irredeemable Nazis appear in fictional form, the brothers of the industrialist Henrik Vanger: Richard, Harald and Greger. Harald, a
order and stability. If you think there’s a danger of that, you have to make sure the fascists don’t appear orderly and unopposed. You have to go out and break up their demonstrations, which is what we did with the Narva Association and similar groups in the 1970s. There were fights, of course. First we threw their wreaths in the water at Nybroviken, then we got a beating from them on Östermalmstorg. But I became increasingly sceptical of it all: it didn’t affect ordinary people, it was just a
The long-drawn-out trial of strength continued until the racists gave up. By this stage the anti-racists had also realized the hugely symbolic value of demonstrations around the statue of Charles XII. They mounted a big demonstration on 30 November 1987 against the march of the far Right to the statue, and this was to be repeated in succeeding years. One problem for those trying to oppose the racists was the uncertainty about whom they were dealing with. It was a conscious tactic, not least on
baby’, because it was so empty. The future also seemed uncertain. What would happen to Expo now? At that point hardly anyone was giving a thought to Stieg’s as yet unpublished novels. The notion that everything was going to change, be turned upside down, because of those books was not even a glimmer on the horizon. CRIME WRITER It’s the darkness that’s so alluring. People’s lives are overshadowed by past injustice and misdeeds, the fabric of society is torn to shreds, everything that
hunt for his murderers on the periphery of a Sweden which itself is a remote corner of Europe, in its turn a small fraction of the world as a whole. The links criss-cross the globe – from Ystad in Skåne to Riga in Latvia, to Transkei in South Africa, to Santiago in the Dominican Republic, to Luanda in Angola. The globalized world seeks out Kurt Wal-lander, not the other way round. The White Lioness, which was the real breakthrough for the series, marked the beginning of the theme of Sweden and