We gave it a C+
At some point while reading Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling mystery The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, perhaps your mind wandered and you paused to ponder a heretofore unanswered question: How did the late author make his coffee? Well, wonder no more, Lisbeth Salander fans. Larsson preferred it percolated.
That’s one of many less-than-fascinating facts divulged in ‘There Are Things I Want You to Know’ About Stieg Larsson and Me, a thin, tedious book by Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson’s companion of 32 years until his death in 2004. Did you know that Larsson’s grandfather owned a Ford Anglia, and as a result that very model of car shows up in Dragon Tattoo? Or that despite Salander’s interest in Fermat’s Last Theorem, Larsson was bad at math?
Written in simple prose with exclamation points sprinkled seemingly at random throughout, the book recounts Larsson’s familiar story, adding fresh details but no big revelations. Gabrielsson gives her take on his childhood and career, their life together, and the origin of the Millennium books. A series of short chapters tackle distinctly unpressing issues, like ”Addresses in the Millennium Trilogy,” which explains how he came up with the novels’ locations, and ”Sailing,” which expounds on…the couple’s love of sailing. To be fair, other parts, such as her account of Larsson’s death and her struggles afterward, are more substantive, if not more enlightening.
Gabrielsson devotes a large chunk of the memoir to an angry chronicle of her feud with Larsson’s father and brother, who inherited the author’s entire estate because the couple never married. It’s hard not to sympathize with her, since she was intimately involved with the series and now has nothing to show for it. But she also comes off as stubborn, difficult, and — especially when she writes a long Viking curse-poem aimed at Larsson’s ”enemies” — a little kooky. Nobody would fault her for trying to carve out a piece of the Millennium action, of course. Why anyone might want to read this, however, is a bit of a mystery. C+