Almost immediately after Stieg Larsson’s first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tatt00, was posthumously published to international acclaim Millennium Mania spread like a literary virus around the world. This was primarily based on the quality of the work, but was also influenced in no small way by the amazing backstory. Now, six years later, the insatiable interest in Larsson’s personal story, as well as the Millennium Trilogy, has sparked numerous biographical projects.
The first English language bio to hit the bookstores is Barry Forshaw’s The Man Who Left To Soon ( John Blake Publishing,UK ). Forshaw is a highly respected journalist and author with an extensive knowledge of crime fiction, having penned The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction and edited British Crime Writing: An Encyclopedia.
Divided into three sections, Forshaw’s work of hagiography spends an inordinate amount of ink in the exhaustive retelling of the plots of the three novels. It is redeemed, however, by the thorough, and fascinating, background interviews with colleagues, family and friends. And, possibly the most interesting feature of the biography is the use of interviews with contemporary Scandinavian and British novelists, who share their positive and negative views on the trilogy.
With several more Stieg Larsson biographies and critical examinations of the Millennium Trilogy in the works,and a global legion of dedicated fans with a voracious appetite for anything to do with Larsson and the trilogy, we can expect to be inundated with books touting conspiracy theories about the author’s death and a rash of analyses of Lisbeth Salander. But for me the key to the trilogy’s brilliance will always be in its mix of writerly virtues—they’re well plotted, original, well written, entertaining, have engaging characters and offer real social and political commentary—and they’re exciting, old-fashioned page turners.