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"There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me (2011)
by Eva Gabrielsson, Marie-Françoise Colombani (Author)
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It was interesting to read about Steig Larsson from his partner's perspective — the one who knew him best — and to learn about their lives together. ( )
I recently won a Twitter contest by Tantor Media and when I was allowed to choose an audiobook I could not pass up this selection. Since I had recently finished the Dragon Tattoo series I was interested in knowing a little more about the man behind it. This book did not disappoint.
Although they never married Eva Gabrielsson was Stieg Larsson’s lifelong companion. Sharing thirty-two years together Ms. Gabreilsson is able to relate some of Mr. Larsson’s childhood and early life with the reader as well as the kind of man he was as an adult. The reader learns about his career ambitions and the road his life took in that respect. She also shares his strong moral beliefs on a variety of subjects.
Any book dealing with his life cannot omit what happened after his sudden death in 2004 at the age of fifty. Ms. Gabrielsson not only writes about her understandable grief but also discusses the difficulties surrounding the Millennium series (with family, lawyers and the government) with a grace that I feel I could not muster under similar circumstances. Although admittedly one sided, since she is the author of the book, I feel she deserves kudos in that department.
In reading other reviews of this book I realize many people were disappointed that it was not more of a tell all (behind bedroom door type secrets) but I do not believe that was Ms. Gabrielsson’s mission in writing this book. As it stands this book was an interesting insight into the man behind the phenomenal success of the Dragon Tattoo books, but also an opportunity to get to know a little bit about a woman who is quite amazing in her own right.
I really enjoyed spending time with Eva and felt her pain as she told her story. She's a great lady who deserved much better than she got after her husband died. Their love and the life they shared makes for a great love story.
This book is short, but it's quality over quantity. It's written as if you're sitting in a cafe drinking coffee (COFFEE!) with Eva and spending a long afternoon chatting about her love. If you have read any of the Millennium Trilogy, this is worth reading as you will gain greater insight and appreciation into those three books. The only shortcoming is - this book was too short! I was left wanting more!
How does one write a book to tell millions of fans what a man was really like when so much has been written about him?
Eva Gabrielsson and Stieg Larsson lived together over 30 years. Larsson unexpectantly died just before his first three novels were published and went on to receive meteoric and international acclaim. Afterwards there was so many truths, half-truths, myths, and lies published about Larsson and the couple that it has often be difficult to hear anything through the noise. After facing the horrible shock and tremendous grief of the death of her soul-mate, Gabrielsson attempts to introduce strangers to the man she knew.
Many elements have been been printed before in news stories but she does describe his early life and uses it to help illustrate Larsson's character. For readers who have not read Larsson's articles about political extremists -- which is the case for many who live outside Sweden -- there are only hints of his journalistic efforts. This hinders the readers' ability to truly grasp the depth of the Larsson (and Gabrielsson's) commitment to sharing observations of the very real dangers in the political and social landscape.
For me -- as an American -- I was drawn in to the Millennium trilogy in part because of the peeling back to reveal the social injustice that occurs often hidden around us each day. The surprise was the amount of common ground between the Sweden described in the novels and the USA: the growth of extreme conservative right-wing; increase in hate speech; erosion of journalistic ethics and standards; monetary greed from business and political corruption, etc.
So while we don't really get to know Larsson the man, we are introduced to his partner Gabrielsson. While her emotions are reserved, it is evident that her loss has affected her profoundly. A loss compounded by a legal injustice -- Sweden does not recognize the rights of cohabitating partners -- and a loss of access to the control of his works. These injustices are keen and sharp. The end of the book it is about recovery. The slow climb back from the nadir experienced after Larsson's death, the fame, and the betrayals. Not every fight will be won but she is facing each one.
Here is the real inside story--not the one about the Stieg Larsson phenomenon, but rather the love story of a man and a woman whose lives came to be guided by politics and love, coffee and activism, writing and friendship. Only one person knows that story well enough to tell it with authority. Eva and Stieg shared everything, starting when they were both eighteen until his untimely death 32 years later. Here, Eva accepts the daunting challenge of telling the story of their shared life, steeped in love and sharpened in the struggle for justice and human rights. She chooses to tell it in short, spare, lyrical chapters, like snapshots, the inside account of how he wrote, why he wrote, who the sources were for Lisbeth and his other characters--graciously answering Stieg's readers' most pressing questions--and at the same time telling us about love and loss, death, betrayal, and the mistreatment of women.--From publisher description.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)839.738Literature German literature and literatures of related languages Other Germanic literatures Swedish literature Swedish fiction 2000-
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Seven Stories Press
3 editions of this book were published by Seven Stories Press.
Editions: 1609803639, 1609804104, 1609803647
An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.