Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Screen

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first book in the Millenium Series by Stieg Larsson, is a hot hot hot commodity around the world. Since the beginning of the year, it's the #1 bestselling book at Broadway Books, a stat that holds true for many stores, I'm sure. The second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, will be available in paperback next week. It's been selling very well in hardback, but I'm expecting sales to explode when the paperback hits the streets. The third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, will be available in a hardbound edition at the end of May.

For those of you who have been eager to see this gripping story hit the big screen, the Swedish film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with English subtitles, is scheduled to open at many theaters in the US starting this month, and is on the calendar to open in Portland (at Cinema 21) on April 16.

In the first book, a disgraced financial journalist joins forces with an antisocial (and tattooed) but brilliant young hacker to solve a 40-year-old (and very creepy) disappearance.

The story behind the story in the movie is almost as interesting as the plot itself. Author Stieg Larsson, born in 1954, was a Swedish writer and journalist. Prior to his sudden death of a heart attack in November 2004, he finished the three detective novels in his Millenium series, which were published posthumously. Altogether, his trilogy has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide (through the summer of 2009), and he was the second bestselling author in the world in 2008. All three books were adapted into films in 2009 and have become smash hits in Europe. Before his career as a writer, Stieg Larsson was mostly known for his struggle against racism and right-wing extremism.

But wait, the real plot gets even stickier than the fictional one. When Larsson started writing the Millennium series, he supposedly laid out an outline of a total of ten books. Before his death in November 2004, he had finished the first three books and was well underway with the fourth. In an email written to a friend a month before his death, Larsson said that he had finished about half of the fourth book -- the beginning and the end -- but that the middle part was not finished yet.

Many readers have asked if Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson's life companion, could finish the fourth book, as she was deeply involved in the writing while he was still alive. Gabrielsson herself is very positive that she could; however, Swedish jurisdiction obstructs such a solution. Because Gabrielsson and Larsson never married and because he did not leave behind a will, literary rights to his first three books have fallen to his father and brother. His long-time partner claims to have the laptop with the partial manuscript for the fourth book on it, but she is unwilling to part with it unless she is allowed to manage literary rights to the series. The suspense continues!

Not wanting to be left out, Hollywood is of course planning a major English language movie of its own, based on the Larsson books. One recent rumor has Carey Mulligan, 2010 Oscar nominee for her role in An Education, in line to play Lizbeth, the tattooed hacker. Stay tuned for all the news to come! If you want us to hold any of the forthcoming books for you, just give us a shout.

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