Even if you haven't read any of the late Stieg Larsson's bestselling novels, you probably know a lot about the author and the books.
Larsson's novels top The New York Times bestseller lists. In Burlington, Vt., where I was traveling two weeks ago, entire bookstore windows were filled with them. When an advance copy arrived at NPR, colleagues fought over it.
In recent weeks, seemingly every major newspaper and magazine has featured at least one story about the author, pegged to the American release of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest; a review — or two! — of the new book; and some sort of feature piece about its protagonist, Lisbeth Salander. Last Thursday, NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Larsson's agent on NPR's All Things Considered.
A few weeks back, I read "The Afterlife of Stieg Larsson," by Charles McGrath, in The New York Times Magazine, which centers on the fraught relationship between Larsson's family and his former "live-in companion," Eva Gabrielsson.
Since the author's untimely death, they have been fighting about his estate and other writing that could be published — and capitalized upon — posthumously. According to McGrath, Gabrielsson "has asserted a kind of moral entitlement."
She also has a crucial piece of the Larsson legacy: a laptop computer containing roughly three-quarters of a fourth novel. According to Gabrielsson, in 2005 the Larssons offered to give her Stieg's half of the apartment in return for the laptop. She refused, calling the offer extortion, and they eventually relented, very likely under the weight of public opinion, and let her have the whole apartment for nothing.
Although there is no news to report about that fourth book, The New York Times, citing Agence France-Presse, reports that "the national library of Sweden said that it had recently come into possession of several unpublished manuscripts by Stieg Larsson."
...the manuscripts were written by Mr. Larsson around the age of 17, long before he became a journalist and novelist, and was still hoping to break in as a writer of genre fiction.
"We have received material from a small archive from a periodical called the Jules Verne Magazine, and in that small archive there were some manuscripts by the author Stieg Larsson that were never published," Magdalena Gram, the deputy national librarian of Sweden, told Agence France-Presse. These were works "in the science fiction genre," she said, that the library had only recently started looking at. She provided no further details.