Anticipating the global success of “Män som hatar kvinnor” – of what?
February 27, 2009 by ruediger

According to our charts, he was probably the most stunning author across Europe in 2008, and now his book makes it to the movies: “Män som hatar kvinnor“. You don’t recognize the smash hit?

This weekend, Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo”, volume one of his Millennium series, is opening – in Sweden and Denmark.

This is all about the really counter-intuitive story of a feverish Swedish investigative journalist who, to make some money for his retirement, writes a series of 3 crime novels, but does so in a way that normally guarantees it that the book is not a success. The author dies only a week after bringing the manuscript to his publisher who, of course, recognizes the jewel he got and publishes the book. The rest is probably the most iconic legend about writing and publishing in these days.

Introducing “The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize” Long list, Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of The Independent likens Larsson together with Chilean Roberto Bolano’s “2666” (currently #14 in the UK charts) as the perfect examples for novels which, under conventional wisdom, should never ever make it into any bestseller charts, as both books are “very long, complicated, sometimes eccentric and driven by a quixotic idealism”, have a dead author and are translations- and yet.

The really amazing thing about the Larsson movie however is that after such a unique performance, it has not been turned into some Hollywood blockbuster with a cast of international stars. Instead it is a Danish production, directed by Berlin festival winner of 2006, Niels Arden Oplev.

Livres Hebdo reports that the movie may open the French movie festival in Cannes in May 2009, and that so far, volume 2 and 3 of the Millennium series are set to hit only TV and DVD screens, not the cinema. So far, TV rights for France have not been sold, but Canal+ seems to be closest.

Which just teaches a good lesson about culture and arts being much more complex as popular myths of “global homogenization” have it.

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