In this touching tribute to his mentor, friend and ‘big brother’, Stieg Larsson, Kurdo Baksi, the Swedish social commentator and author lays bare his candid reminisces about a friendship that lasted a decade under the skies of Stockholm. The world needs no introduction to Stieg Larsson the author as exemplified by the roaring success of his “Millennium” Trilogy, but the world still has to come to grips with Larsson the activist, a relentless purveyor of anti-racism, an indefatigable fanatic of womens’ rights and a tireless advocate of civil liberties. The latter face of Larsson is what Kurdo Baksi reveals in his short but stirring memoir. As we read about an inveterate insomniac, an incorrigible chain smoker and a preternatural consumer of coffee, intent upon changing the destinies of the oppressed, impervious to a deluge of fake as well as genuine death threats, we are enlivened as well as exasperated. While Larsson’s intentions might have been noble, his methods employed for furthering his cause at times are to put it mildly – controversial. For example allowing a seventeen year old to infiltrate a dreaded Neo-Nazi group in Sweden, with an intention to prising out the Group’s activities represent taking the art of investigative journalism beyond tolerable thresholds.
Larsson’s book is an eye opener in so far as the Neo-Nazi movements, anti-Semitic activities and oppression of women that are prevalent in Sweden. The extreme right wing party, The Swedish Democrats and their workers, invoked the ire of Larsson and his publication “Expo”. When Expo was forced to be shut down unable to tide over financial constraints, Larsson teamed up with Baksi (who at that time was the publisher of his own publication “Svartvitt”) to co-publish Expo with Svarvitt. This venture also signaled the beginning of an enduring and indelible friendship characterised by both respect and rebellion. This is the friendship which forms part of this book and the severance of which (triggered by Larsson’s untimely death) created an irreplaceable void in the life and soul of Kurdo Baksi