Swedish author Eva Gabrielsson, partner of late 'Millennium trilogy' writer Stieg Larsson
Stockholm - Arab Today
Eva Gabrielsson doesn't mince her words: continuing the wildly successful Millennium trilogy written by her late partner Stieg Larsson is a mistake and should never have happened.
The highly-anticipated fourth instalment, written by David Lagercrantz, a journalist and author best known as footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic's official biographer, is due out on August 27 in 35 countries.
But Gabrielsson won't be buying it.
"They say heroes are supposed to live forever. That's a load of crap, this is about money," Gabrielsson tells AFP in a Stockholm cafe.
"It's about a publishing house that needs money, (and) a writer who doesn't have anything to write so he copies someone else," she laments.
At 61, Gabrielsson is composed and discreet, dressed in a dark outfit with a scarf looped around her neck.
She lived with Stieg Larsson for 32 years until his sudden death in 2004 from a heart attack at age 50 -- before the publication and phenomenal success of the dark crime trilogy that took the world by storm.
The first three books have sold more than 75 million copies in more than 30 languages, according to publisher Norstedts.
- 'Totally idiotic choice' -
Gabrielsson grows animated when the subject of defending Larsson's work comes up, and the publication of the fourth tome clearly disgusts her.
The title of the 500-page brick is, literally translated, "That Which Does Not Kill Us".
Just after Larsson's death, Gabrielsson said in interviews that she had the draft of a fourth book he had begun several months before his death.
Few details about that draft ever leaked out, and Gabrielsson is unwilling to be drawn on it now.
"I don't want to talk about the fourth manuscript. I don't have it anymore and Lagergrantz started over from zero."
Lagercrantz has nothing in common with Larsson, a journalist and leftist activist who was passionate about combatting extremism, she points out.
He "comes from a completely different background. Everything has always been easy for him. He's never been an activist. Everything is wrong," she argues.
Picking Lagercrantz as the author "is a totally idiotic choice", in her view.
Even the title is all wrong, in her eyes: "It's a little tame, a little weak, very literary. The other titles were much more straightforward," she blasts, before sighing: "Let him dig his own grave."
- 'There was no plan' -
The idea to continue the Millennium trilogy is based on a misconception about Larsson's plans for his protagonists Lisbeth Salander, a feisty rebel hacker-turned-detective, and Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter, according to Gabrielsson.
"Everyone thinks there was some grand scheme but no, he had no plan for the first three books and when he started writing the fourth one, it was spontaneous. He still didn't have a plan," she explains.
If it were up to her, none of this would have happened.
"I wouldn't have continued Stieg's work. It was his language, his unique narrative," she says.
Gabrielsson fought a bitter battle with Larsson's family to manage her late partner's work, but lost.
The couple were not married, and -- unable to predict his sudden death nor the wild success of his trilogy -- he left no will.
As a result his family inherited his entire estate, not her.
Gabrielsson wanted to manage his authorship to avoid its commercialisation, but she says she never reached an agreement with Larsson's brother and father and they now manage his estate.
"It's in European intellectual property laws that you have to manage an author's work in such a way that its origin is respected and protected. Those who manage it are responsible for that," she insists.
But "Stieg's family, they're too weak, they don't protect his work and now there's nothing left to protect."
"The worst thing is how saddened Stieg would have been. He never let anyone work on his literary texts. He would have been furious. Who knows, maybe he'll send a lightning bolt at the book launch," she muses.
Today, more than 10 years after Larsson's death, Gabrielsson is ready to turn a page in her life. Last year she moved out of the apartment they shared together.
"I needed a change. Everything reminded me of him."
"I don't think of him everyday anymore, but often. He accompanies me."
Come August, she won't buy the new book. Read it maybe, but not buy it.
"I don't think this book will do very well. But I don't care."