Category Archive 'Stieg Larrson'

12 Aug 2012

Free Love Backfires: The Story of Stieg Larsson’s Estate

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Der Spiegel describes how the Boho-Bolshie lifestyle and philosophy backfired on the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson and his surviving partner Eva Gabrielsson. It turns out that communists not only want the survivorship benefits resulting from the traditional marriage they formerly spurned, they also want the money.

Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author of the Millennium trilogy, only became world-famous after his death in 2004. His long-time companion Eva Gabrielsson is still fighting for her share of the inheritance, but says she no longer plans to finish his fourth book. …

Gabrielsson has to smoke a cigarette now. She lived with Larsson for 32 years. Together, they moved from rural northern Sweden to Stockholm. …

When Larsson felt pleased with a chapter, he would give it Gabrielsson to read. He became increasingly confident in the crime story, until he eventually said that he had 10 books in his head about Salander and the insanity she encounters. But then he died. One day when the elevator in his building was out of order, Larsson had to climb the 197 steps to his office. He had a heart attack when he reached the top. He had just turned 50.

Shortly before his death, Larsson had submitted the third volume in the trilogy to his publisher Norstedts, but not a single book had yet been printed. Today more than 63 million copies of the Millennium trilogy have been sold. …

Gabrielsson and Larsson weren’t just a couple, but also a leftist action group. First they were Maoists and then Trotskyists, voicing their criticism of the Swedish welfare state from a leftist point of view. She was an architect, while he worked for a news agency. They managed to make ends meet, and had no children. Like many Swedes of their generation, they were anti-bourgeois.

In their social circle, while couples may have been monogamous, they didn’t marry. But under Swedish law, a member of an unmarried couple doesn’t inherit anything from his or her deceased partner, no matter how long the couple was together. Blood trumps love, unless a will exists, but Larsson hadn’t written one. For that reason, the rapidly growing proceeds from the sale of the books and the film rights went to two biological relatives, Larsson’s father Erland (his mother Vivianne is dead) and his younger brother Joakim. “The money went to us, but we didn’t ask for it,” says Erland Larsson, 76. …
After Larsson’s death, when his novels suddenly became such a huge success, the widow who isn’t a widow under the law sat down with Erland and Joakim Larsson to discuss what should happen next. An agreement seemed possible. But then attorneys took over the case, and an inheritance war ensued — one in which the Stieg Larsson fan community has participated extensively.

Two camps have since formed in Sweden: the (primarily female) Eva camp, with its own website (www.supporteva.com), and the (primarily male) Larsson camp (www.moggliden.com).

The inheritance dispute is being waged publicly. It culminated when Gabrielsson and Joakim Larsson went on Swedish television to explain their respective positions on the dispute. The widow, invoking a higher form of justice, said that the money had made the two Larssons greedy. Joakim Larsson defended his right to the inheritance and, in his modesty, came across as likeable.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds, who asks: “Wait, you mean that ‘all property is theft’ stuff only applies to other people’s property?”


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