Steig Larsson – The Man Who Left Too Soon

The Man Who Left Too Soon by Barry Forshaw.

Since reading the three best-selling novels by Steig Larsson I have been interested in knowing more about the author, who died after finishing only three of the ten book series that he planned – a fourth book was partially completed on Steig Larsson’s laptop computer when he died. This book is a celebration of the life of an amazing man, and a close look at the novels which are thought to be based on his life.

Steig Larsson died of a heart attack at the age of 50 after he climbed seven flights of stairs because a lift was not working. He was a courageous fighter against right wing extremist organisations, from whom he received death threats. He lived with his partner, Eva Gabrielsson, for thirty years, but they never married because under Swedish law at that time couples marrying were required to make their addresses publicly known and this would have put them both in danger. Under the Swedish legal system Eva Gabrielsson did not inherit Stieg Larsson’s estate, and this led to disputes between her and Steig’s father and brother who were the legatees. Due to the bitter disputes over his legacy (both  financial and content of the books), the laptop containing the partially completed novel remains in possession of Eva Gabrielsson and seems unlikely to be published soon.

The first part of this book deals with Steig Larsson’s life, and the last part with his work and novels. Barry Forshaw states that ‘Larsson afficionados will be aware that his biography is, to some extent, to be found in his books – hence the concentration here on the three novels of his trilogy’. Like Mikael Blomkvist, Steig Larsson was a journalist who took little care of his health. He chain smoked and indulged in junk food. He worked as a journalist and editor by day and wrote the novels he is now famous for at night as a way of relaxing. Many considered him to be a workaholic, but none will doubt the brilliance of the books he left behind.