Translated by Laurie Thompson. MacLehose Press, £12.99, 186pp. £10.99 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030

The Expo Files, By Stieg Larsson

 

It's a mystery as provocative as anything in The Millennium Trilogy: is there a fourth book by the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? How much more did Stieg Larsson write about the fascinating, sociopathic Lisbeth Salander before his prodigally unhealthy lifestyle ended his life at the age of 50?

The answer to that is swirling around in the acrimonious dispute between Larsson's ex-partner and his blood relatives – but succour is at hand for those suffering serious Larsson withdrawal symptoms: The Expo Files, edited by his journalistic colleague Daniel Poohl.

Stieg Larsson was comfortably among the most commercially successful writers of the first decade of the 21st century, albeit posthumously. In the course of the sprawling, politically charged, violent epic that is The Millennium Trilogy, Larsson invites us to gaze at the sexually polymorphous, much-abused heroine Lisbeth Salander. In fact, the non-consensual sex in the novel quickly became one of its most controversial elements – defended as possessing a keen feminist tenor but excoriated by those who felt that the repeated rapes were gloating and exploitative, granted a cynical feminist gloss in order to make them acceptable (and politically correct) to modern readers.

Such issues are touched on in The Expo Files. Courtesy of the writer's British publisher, we are given several fascinating insights into Larsson's non-fiction writings; they may not settle such arguments, but give the reader his authentic voice as a journalist (and even his skills in this area have been disputed in very public fashion since his death).

Before creating his fictional surrogate Mikhail Blomkvist, Larsson was already celebrated as a campaigning journalist, taking on anti-Semitism and corruption in government. He added battles for the rights of battered women to his already weighty political résumé, but was most celebrated as an authority on extremist organisations; his sorties against them often put him in physical danger. His name was known in this country from the pages of Searchlight magazine, but his own magazine was the Swedish journal Expo, from which the passionately written articles collected here are drawn.

Larsson's views are still controversial (the journalist Nick Cohen, for instance, criticises his almost obsessive concentration on male violence against women and also accuses him of paranoia). Larsson founded the Swedish Expo Foundation with a brief to "counteract the growth of the extreme right", and edited the house magazine Expo (the inspiration for the magazine "Millennium", which the journalist Blomkvist works on in the trilogy), penning the series of lacerating articles represented in The Expo Files. There are keen insights here into the issues that motivated him, including a chillingly prescient piece about the likelihood of terror killings in the Scandinavian countries – along with a cutting exposé of the "charlatans" of neo-spiritualism; in none of these does Larsson mince his words.

This collection – often infuriating, but always challenging – may be bought by most as an adjunct to Larsson's fictional universe, but these articles (some almost 30 years old) still have much to say to us today.

Barry Forshaw's 'Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction' is published by Palgrave Macmillan

Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power