COM: Stieg Larsson not what he's thought to be
Stieg Larsson Silent as Real-Life Lisbeth Raped
Swedish Author Wrote 'Girl With Dragon Tattoo' Out of Guilt; Victim Never Forgave Him
The scene toward the close of Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire" is gut-wrenching: Two men tie up and take turns raping a 16-year-old prostitute who has been lured to Sweden in a sex trafficking ring.
The wildly popular author of the "Millennium" trilogy, which also includes, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," is graphic in his descriptions of violence against women, and now his closest friend reveals why.
Larsson had his own dark secret. At the age of 15 he witnessed a gang rape and never intervened, according to longtime friend Kurdo Baksi. Days later, ridden with guilt, Larsson asked the victim for her forgiveness, but she refused.
That girl was Lisbeth, the name later given to the tattooed, Asperger's-afflicted Lisbeth Salander -- heroine of Larsson's three novels.
The guilt over failing to act haunted Larsson his entire life and fueled the subject of his crime novels, according to Baksi, who wrote "Stieg Larsson: Our Days in Stockholm," a soon-to-be published memoir devoted to setting the record straight about Larsson's real-life commitment to social justice.
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