June 9, 2011
An excerpt of “There Are Things I Want You to Know” About Stieg Larsson and Me from the July 2011 issue of Vanity Fair:
Stieg did not sit down one day at his computer and announce, “I’m going to write a crime novel!” In a way, he never even formally began to write one at all, because he never drew up an outline for the first book, or the next two, still less for the seven he intended should follow. Stieg wrote sequences that were often unrelated to the others. Then he would “stitch” them together, following the thread of the story and his inclination. In summer 2002, during a week-long island vacation, I could see he was a bit bored. I was working on my book about the Swedish architect Per Olof Hallman, but Stieg was at loose ends, going around in circles.
So I asked him, “Haven’t you got some writing to work on?”
“No, but I was just thinking about that piece I wrote in 1997, the one about the old man who receives a flower in the mail every year at Christmas. Remember?”
“Of course! I’ve been wondering for a long time what that was really all about.”
Stieg got right to it, and we spent the rest of the week working outdoors on our computers, with the sea before our eyes and grass beneath our feet. Happy.
You can purchase the full July 2011 issue of Vanity Fair at newsstands or through the iPad app.