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Larsson partner: 'I can finish Millennium series'

AFP/The Local · 13 Jan 2011, 12:35

Published: 13 Jan 2011 12:35 GMT+01:00

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The longtime partner of Stieg Larsson says she could finish a fourth volume in the phenomenal Millennium series left incomplete by the Swedish novelist's sudden death, if she secures the rights.

In a 160-page memoir to be published in France, Sweden and Norway next Wednesday, Eva Gabrielsson casts new light on the creation of the crime series that has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide.

Larsson, 50, died of a heart attack in November 2004, before the publication of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest".

Gabrielsson, his partner for 32 years, has been locked in a dispute with Larsson's family over his inheritance. The journalist-turned-novelist died without a will, and the couple never had children.

"She is not fighting to recover money, but to obtain moral rights on Millennium and all the political writings of her companion," said a spokesman for her French publisher, Actes Sud.

In her own words, Gabrielsson tells readers that "I am fighting for him, for myself, for you," according to an advance copy of the memoir, titled "Millennium, Stieg and Me" seen by AFP.

Not unlike the trilogy's main characters -- crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander -- Larsson campaigned throughout his journalistic career against extremism and racism with Gabrielsson, an architect, at his side.

On the much-talked-about fourth volume, Gabrielsson confirmed that Larsson, typing on a computer, had gotten just over 200 pages into the story before his untimely death.

"I am able to finish it ... Steig and I often wrote together," she said, adding that she would only do so once she gets undisputed rights to his work from the Larsson family.

"It is not my intention to recount here the plot of the fourth volume," she said. "On the other hand, I want to say that Lisbeth little by little frees herself from her ghosts and her enemies."

Confronted with death threats, the couple never married in order not to make it easier for neo-Nazis to track them, she explains in the book, which is to be published in other markets including the United States later this year.

Under Swedish law, the author's assets -- including copyrights -- thereby automatically went to his father and brother.

In June last year, soon after a Swedish film adaptation of "Tattoo" was released in the United States, Gabrielsson turned down the family's offer of €2.1 millions ($2.75 million) plus a seat on the board of directors of the company that manages the rights to Larsson's work.

In her book, she condemns what she calls "the Stieg Larsson industry and brand... I don't want to see coffee mugs and other 'Millennium' merchandise; I want to see the 'real' Stieg respected".

Story continues below…

Written in collaboration with French journalist Marie-Francoise Colombani, Gabrielsson's memoirs recount her childhood, how she met Larsson, their lives together and the struggles they confronted together, notably through Expo, the periodical he founded in 1995 as the far-right was gaining traction in Sweden.

Both Larsson and his editorial staff "moved around constantly to escape the Nazis who were harassing them," she recalled.

Millennium fans will find two chapters particularly gripping, as they flesh out the characters whose fictional lives echoed the real experiences of Larsson and Gabrielsson.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:45 January 13, 2011 by Rolle
As a human i understand her desire to see his late 'sambo' legacy respected. But sooner or later Gabrielsson must come to terms and realize that a good share of money and a seat at the board of the so-called 'Stieg Larsson industry' is all she's gonna get (well, she probably knows this by now, as she's just reaching out for a larger sum of money).

I was a big fan of the Millenium trilogy so obviously i would like to read the manuscript of the fourth book, but it was Mr. Larsson and not her partner who wrote the damn books so whatever she adds to it would, in a way, betray Larsson's legacy.

Let Millenium stay the way it is. After all, the third book kinda brings some closure.
15:43 January 13, 2011 by spidernik84
It's gonna end up like Frank Herbert's Dune, with the prequels written by his son.

At least she's trying to write a book to homage his sambo, instead of what, for instance, did Tolkien's son (all about the money).

Let's see. Claiming something is easy, delivering the promise is not so obvious.
20:29 January 13, 2011 by sgt_doom
I applaud Ms. Gabrielsson and strongly support her sentiments.

In these days, when corruption rules supreme in so many countries (Sweden, the USA, UK, etc.) we need all the positive fiction we can get.

I mean, honest people at SAPO? The C.I.A.?

Come on now.........

22:05 January 13, 2011 by Zala Russe
I am certainly supportive of Ms. Gabrielsson. What she has been offered to date is a mere fraction of the value of the 'Larsson' estate. If either of the parties in this ongoing dispute is to benefit, then some accommodation must be found.

But, this not to mention the 40+ million international readership who want to see the development of the cycle of the ten novels, putatively sketched out by Stieg.

Eva, as 'physical' owner of what Stieg actually wrote, is undoubtedly better placed than most to, at least, to offer us the fourth novel.

If this dispute cannot be resolved directly, then all we are going to get in future (legal restraints not withstanding) is a franchise like 'based on the Ian Fleming character, James Bond' type stories written by the likes of me.

The article reports:

'In her book, she condemns what she calls "the Stieg Larsson industry and brand... I don't want to see coffee mugs and other 'Millennium' merchandise; I want to see the 'real' Stieg respected".

Well sorry, but it may be the obverse of what Stieg ever wanted, but this IS big business.

For example: In the UK. Jo Nesbø has been ruthlessly peddled in the UK as 'The Next Stieg Larsson' (even though he is Norwegian!) and even 'Three Seconds' by Roslund and Hellström as 'by the publishers of Stieg Larsson', and Camilla Läckberg, promoted shamelessly as 'The female Stieg Larsson' .

00:35 January 14, 2011 by landofthesheeple
Typical for a Swede not to commit into marriage, but as soon as money or property is involved, tears fall.

And what about those people that shelled out the SEK for the DVD / Blu-ray Disc Trilogy Boxsets?

I guess I'll wait until the quadology boxset is released : ) lol
01:50 January 14, 2011 by duogrn

You're wrong for this case. Mind you Larsson and his "Expo" worked against the far-right. So out of safety precaution, Larsson & Gabrielsson even didn't file their sambo status.

This a bit odd part of Swedish law, which doesn't honor the "common-law wife" despite of 32 some years of partnership.
10:05 January 14, 2011 by landofthesheeple
Like I said, She is SOL. Who is She kidding? If coffee mugs make a profit, she'd cave in, and sell out. His next of kin will get the rights and money, not her. She would have to pay them if she wants the franchise rights.
14:40 January 14, 2011 by cogito
Though the books are brilliant, Larsson gave Ms. Gabrielsson a raw deal.

My hope that women will learn from her that accepting the status of sambo in Sweden is never in a woman's interests.
18:18 January 14, 2011 by Derek Bernard
As a British fan of Sweden, with many Swedish friends, I have to admit being very seriously surprised and disappointed by 2 recent developments that have severely undermined my view of Sweden as a liberal, thoughtful and socially-responsible society.

Firstly, a legal system that denies any rights to a partner of 32 years standing, like Eva Gabrielsson, is cruel and inflexible.

Secondly, a judicial system that even charges a person in connection with consensual sex with an adult, much less finds them guilty of anything, as in the case of Magnus Hedman, is a system that denies the crucial importance of personal responsibility and freedom of choice.
21:00 January 16, 2011 by kcussmilsum
She should have married the man, then there'd be no question of having the rights or money. She's SOL!
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