STOCKHOLM — Stieg Larsson’s brother has rejected claims by the late crime novelist’s longtime companion that the family is trying to squeeze every penny from Larsson’s posthumous fame.
On a talk show to be aired by Swedish Television on Friday, Joakim Larsson says he and his father — who inherited the author’s estate — plan to donate most of the $38 million they’ve earned to date from the popular books to charity.
"How much to keep for ourselves? We’ve never even thought about it," he said.
The writer’s companion for three decades, Eva Gabrielsson, wants control of Larsson’s works and says the family is commercializing his legacy for profit. She inherited nothing because they weren’t married and Larsson didn’t leave a will when he died of a heart attack in 2004.
Larsson’s trilogy — "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," ”The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest" — became hugely popular after his death, with around 50 million copies sold worldwide.
Gabrielsson holds a fourth, unpublished manuscript, in the series but doesn’t own the rights to it. She refuses to hand it over to Larsson’s family.
"They already have so much money. I think there’s a limit somewhere," she said on the same TV show last week. "How much are you going to scrape from the bottom of the barrel?"
Gabrielsson’s own book, describing her life with Stieg Larsson, is going on sale in Sweden this week.
Joakim Larsson rejected that the family was exploiting the writer’s legacy for money.
"There are no T-shirts or coffee mugs," he said as the talk show was recorded late Thursday. "We’ve paid our lawyers to stop that. We’ve even received a request about an operetta from Taiwan, but we’ve said no to that."
He said the family’s earnings from the books and the film adaptations would be given to causes that Stieg Larsson supported, including the anti-racist Expo magazine that he worked for.