July 20, 2015

There’s at least one way to screw up the launch of The Girl in the Spider’s Web


Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 9.30.33 PMBetween August 27th and September 1st, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the fourth book in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series, will be released in 27 countries and almost as many languages around the world.

Linda Altrov, who runs the rights department at the series’ Swedish publisher Norstedts thinks “it might be the biggest launch of 2015” (pretty big talk considering the record-breaking sales of Go Set a Watchman), but there’s a lot to do before then: translations and foreign editions must be approved, interviews and tours around the world must be booked, and, perhaps most importantly, the manuscript must not be leaked.

And it sounds like people are at least a little worried that David Lagercrantz, who’s been hired to continue the series in the wake of Larsson’s death, might screw it up.

The Guardian calls Lagercrantz “a hyper-verbal, mischievous figure” who was “recently dispatched to a remote island in the Finnish archipelago”—partly for rest, and partly, maybe, to limit liabilities.

Shortly after Lagercrantz finished the book—which he wrote on a computer that wasn’t connected to the Internet and then delivered by hand to Norstedts in November—he told Babel, a Swedish literary talk show, “I’m not very good at secrets and you’re good interviewer so I’m probably going to leak loads.”

One of the only public commentaries he’s been permitted to make about the book appears here, in a promotional video where he considers whether or not Lisbeth Salander is a psychopath. (Not, he says.) (He is indeed very animated!)

He’s also met with some skepticism from bookish circles in Sweden: “Literary Sweden is very, very suspicious of this project,” Martin Aagård told The Guardian. “It is some kind of grave plundering.”

Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson’s long-term partner who recently lost a battle with his brother and father over control of the estate, claims Larsson “would have been horrified” to see Lagercrantz take over the project. Not only does she not “think it’s OK for people to hijack other people’s work,” but she thinks Lagercrantz’s privileged background–he’s the grandson of a countess–only adds insult to injury.

All’s quiet for now though, as “there’s a brief pause in the proceedings as Norstedts’s staff desert its offices for their respective summer retreats.” More to come in August.

Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.