Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review Tuesday: 'The Man Who Left Too Soon'

Today’s ‘Review Tuesday’. As foreshadowed [1], I’ve just read The Man Who Left Too Soon: The Biography of Stieg Larsson [2]. Written by English crime fiction journalist Barry Forshaw and published in 2010, its 292-pages divide into four parts:

1. (62 pages). Covering Larsson’s upbringing, his journalistic career championing feminism and decrying right wing groups, his long-term relationship with Eva Gabrielsson, his plans for a 10-book series, his junk food addiction and chainsmoking, his death due to heart attack (i.e. not murder), and his estate dispute between his family and Gabrielsson.

2. (152 pages). Comprising a paraphrasing of the Trilogy’s plotlines – with Forshaw’s annotations vis-à-vis Larsson’s biographical details, and references to other crime fiction books.

3. (53 pages). Recording well-known Scandinavian and other crime fiction writers’ responses to Larsson’s trilogy. Their consensus? All three books need a thorough edit, Lisbeth Salander’s their most compelling character, and it’s unlikely Larsson would’ve sustained interest in his characters and their adventures beyond the third book.

4. (25 pages.) Discussing a Millenium Trilogy walking tour, the films based on the books, and Scandinavian crime fiction’s bright future.

Forshaw’s book disappointed me. It told me little of what I didn’t, but wanted, to know of Larsson and his Trilogy. And the annotations didn’t justify the 152-page plot paraphrasing section (52% of the book). But given the runaway popularity of the Trilogy and its deceased author, if one can’t excuse Forshaw for hopping on this bandwagon, one can at least perceive his primary motive. Ho hum.

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