As The Girl Who Played with Fire appears on DVD, Kurdo Baksi, the author of Stieg Larsson, My Friend on the late author…

Kurdo Baksi believes that (both for himself and his late colleague) journalism – the profession of Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl Who Played with Fire — is insufficient to present a complete and rounded picture of society. ‘We need other forms of literature,’ according to Baksi, ‘and crime novels can be a perfect way to paint a picture of social tensions in different countries. For instance, Stieg Larsson was not allowed to write long, in-depth articles about racism, feminism and social injustice in the Swedish newspapers. And that, I think, is the reason why he wrote the Millennium Trilogy – which deal with those issues.’

Non-Scandinavian readers, Baksi feels, are being given insights into Nordic society by contemporary crime fiction such as The Girl Who Played with Fire. Nordic crime writing shows that violence, the ill-treatment of women and endemic racism are components of daily life. He points out wryly: ‘Crime fiction illustrates that even in countries considered to be paradise, you will find pockets of hell.’

The contentious immigration issue has a different resonance in Sweden from the UK, as the country does not have the same history as Britain. Sweden never had colonies so that immigrants and refugees have only begun to be a part of Swedish society relatively recently. ‘In the construction of a new and multiethnic society’, he said, ‘the inhabitants cannot avoid multi-cultural tensions. And these tensions are of course interesting and fruitful for Nordic writers to explore.’

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