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The Man Who Left Too Soon - the Life and Works of Stieg Larsson Paperback – 4 Apr 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd; Reprint edition (4 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843583704
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843583707
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 916,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barry Forshaw's latest books are 'British Crime Film and Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction'. Other work includes 'British Crime Writing: An Encyclopedia', 'The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction and Guns for Hire: The Modern Adventure Thriller', along with books on Italian cinema and the first biography of Stieg Larsson. His next books are 'British Gothic Cinema' and a study of Thomas Harris and 'The Silence of the Lambs'. He writes for various newspapers, edits Crime Time, and broadcasts for ITV and BBC TV documentaries. He has been Vice Chair of the Crime Writers' Association.

Product Description

Review

'Through extensive research, Forshaw uncovers the man behind the manuscripts.' - Screenlit

Review

"Forshaw identifies as the key element to the novels’ success the “emotional connection” between Lisbeth and Mikael Blomkvist, rather than the “nigh-operatic outbursts of violence and massively labyrinthine plotting”. Here he comes close, I think, to explaining their extraordinary popularity." (The Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

2.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. J. Cartwright on 25 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I share much of the disappointnment which others have expressed above about this book. Barry Forshaw is an excllent commentator on contemporary crime fiction but it is his lack of political awareness, and left-wing politics in particular, which largely explains why he fails to draw out the unique qualities of Steig Larsson as a political crime writer. Forshaw comments inadequately on Larssen's polical background - the Vietnam War, Communist Party sympathies and finally the anti-fascist involvement. But none of this is woven into a sufficient political biography and yet it is that political biography which does so much to explain both the Milennium Trilogy and the writer's unique viewpoint. For example, there is no analysis of Stieg's shift from Stalinist politics to his predominant Trotskyist position if Forshaw even appreciates that distinction. Forshaw is not alone in that failing for no other commentary on the author, to my knowledge, has tackled that political development. But without that Forshaw is left to paint Larsson as a mere synthesis of Agatha Christie, Chandler and Scandinavian crime fiction (sadly without mentioning Jo Nesbo, the one other Scandinavian writer who comes anywhere near Steig in terms of a politicised crime fiction). Similarly Forshaw fails to draw on what was probably another major influence on the Trotskyist Larsson, the Pluto crime series of the 1970's and 1980's which produced a very fertile growth of new radical crime British crime fiction writers - Julian Rathbone and Sarah Dunant to mention only the two best known. I feel sure Steig would have come into contact with and been influenced by this series, though in the end he transcended it and every other influence quite brilliantly.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 26 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book some time ago and put it on one side as a treat for my holidays it was a bitter disappointment. Most of what I have to say has already been said but I am so outraged I want to reinforce it. This book was obviously rushed to market and it can in no way be called a biography.

The book is 292 pages long and 1% of these pages are blank. The rest comprises:-

1. pp 1 - 62 (about 21% of the book) biographical material
2. pp 63 - 214 (about 52% of the book) detailed outlines of the millennium trilogy
3. pp 215 - 225 (about 4% of the book) an outline of other Scandinavian authors
4. pp 227 - 231 (about 2% of the book) a description of the "Millennium" tour
5. pp 233 - 285 (about 18% of the book) interviews with other authors Larsson
6. pp 287 - 292 (about 2% of the book) details of the three films based on the books

Part 1 is light on information in my mind. To be honest it contains very little information that isn't available by reading just a few internet sites such as Wikipedia. It certainly isn't a detailed account of Larsson's life. In fact if it wasn't for the fact that it was a biological certainty one would assume that he didn't have a mother unless we assume that the few references to his Father's wife was Larsson's mother. We are left with little idea of Larsson as a child or a young man. If it wasn't for a picture of him sailing we would have to assume that his interest were solely in writing.

I take issue with other reviewers that it was well written. For example on page 19 we are told:-

"... Erland Larsson [...] speculated that Stieg's interest in journalism may have been prompted [...] by the Vietnam War.
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75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By J Whitgift on 23 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had high hopes when I first opened Barry Forshaw's biography of Stieg Larsoon, not least the hope that it would enable me to know more about the author of the best selling Millennium Trilogy. This hope was, however, shattered very early on. Forshaw's book is not strictly a biography of Larsson (though it does contain a biographical interlude at the beginning of the book). Rather it is a book about the Millennium Trilogy and the part Larsson has played as its author - the book remains (and its franchise) remains the main focus of the book, Larsson's life remains merely an interlude to the main action.

What biographical detail there is in Forshaw's book is dealt with fairly swiftly, at the beginning of the book. We are given a brief outline of the trajectory of his life as a journalist and of the controversy which has surrounded his legacy as an author. However, the biographical detail is merely a sketch, designed to give an outline of his life, with no colour or detail. We are told, for instance that Larsson enjoyed his period of National Service, but are given no details of what form his service took or why he enjoyed it so much. We are also told that his relationship with his immediate family was not close, but no why it was not so. Such missed opportunities mean that we do not get a full picture of who Larsson was, just an impression and one that is subservient to his role as author of the Trilogy. It is, however, interesting to note that for Forshaw, Blomkvist (in particular his work ethic), can be viewed as Larsson writing himself as a charecter in his novel, and that he services as an image of how Larsson saw himself. Indeed, Larsson seems to have written himself into the text through Blomkvist.
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