New York Review of Books on the “moralist” Stieg Larsson

Americans, like millions in the rest of the world I should add, continue to be fascinated by Stieg Larsson and his Millennium trilogy.

I have blogged about it before, how Stieg Larsson and his books always come up in conversations with Americans when they hear that I come from Sweden. And that’s ok, of course. It always leads to a good debate about Sweden and our literature.

The latest comments on Larsson and his trilogy can be read in the New York Review of Books under the headline, “Stieg Larsson, moralist”. The article by Tim Parks, author and professor in Milan, Italy, runs of almost three pages in the new issue of the magazine. It does not seem to contain much new, at least not for Swedish readers, or for the many Larsson fans here in America, except perhaps his conclusion?

“It is the ingenuousness and sincerity of Larsson’s engagement with good and evil that give the trilogy its power to attract so many millions of people.”

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“Tattooed by Politics”

Under the headline “Tattooed by Politics – Swedish detective fiction is highly profitable and intent on slaying the dragon of capitalism” in today’s Wall Street Journal, Michael C. Moynihan — senior editor at Reason Magazine – proposes (tongue-in-cheek, I would presume) the creation of a new price, “Bad Politics in Fiction,” where Swedish crime
writers, Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell et al, would come high up on the list.

In fact, writes Moynihan, Mankell’s “The Man from Beijing” would receive the 2010 first prize – if it existed.

This trend started already long ago with Sjowall and Wahloo and their Martin Beck-series, according to Moynihan, and they were followed by PO Enquist, Jan Guillou, Stieg Larsson, Liza Marklund, and all the rest.

It is a shame, seems Moynihan to say, referring to the “brilliant but often overlooked” Swedish authors like Hjalmar Soderberg, Vilhelm Moberg, August Strindberg,  and Selma Lagerlof, that today,  Sweden’s “literary reputation of being murdered, but there’s no mystery about the identity of the perpetrators.”