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KALLE BLOMKVIST. Is this a Swedish in-joke?

Every time KALLE is mentioned or written down everybody all the charactors seem to know what it means. Mikael Blomkvist seems to hate it ,by the way

Posted by Alan C i LEEDS , 16 July 2010


Kalle Blomqvist was a "spy" in Pippi Langstocking stories.

Posted by Anita Hedvall in Portland OR , 16 July 2010

Kalle Blomkvist was NOT a character in Pippi Longstocking. He is a young teenager detective in a series of books written by Astrid Lindgren, same author as Pippi Longstocking. I guess the character Mikael Blomkvist doesn't want to be compared to a teenage detective...

Posted by Kalle in Stockholm , 18 July 2010

Astrid Lindgren, the author of the Pippi Longstocking books also wrote 3 books about the boy Master detective Kalle Blomkvist.

In translation to English the name was changed to Bill Bergson. See

http://www.astridlindgren.se/en/her-works/books/textbocker/bill-bergson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Bergson

Carl Mikael Blomkvist should then have been translated to something like Bill Mikael Bergson in English if it should be understandable why he hate being called Bill. In chapter one of the first book as a child he is very close to Kalle Blomkvist/Bill Bergson.

Posted by Anders in Stockholm , 19 July 2010

My last name is Bloomquist, I like the Swedish spelling much better, but still three books about a Swedish journalist with the last name Blomkvist! I have read two of them and now will begin, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest." Lizabeth Salander is the most exciting heroine to come along in years.

Posted by J.F. Bloomquist in Sparks , 21 July 2010

The third book is as good if not better... enjoy.....

C

Posted by , 23 July 2010

Have only read half of the third book.....am waiting for it to capture what the other two novels had an abundant supply of.......

Posted by Linda Thamm in Victoria, Texas , 26 July 2010

The Swedish press calling Mikael Blomkvist "Kalle Blomkvist" would be a little like the U.S. press nicknaming an American reporter named Michael Brown "Encyclopedia Brown," or calling a reporter named Michelle Drew "Nancy Drew," or two investigative journalist partners "The Hardy Boys."

It's not meant as an insult exactly, but it is a bit mocking, and an adult journalist would very quickly grow tired of being compared to a fictional child/teen detective.

Posted by Monica in Olympia , 1 August 2010

The best comparison is the one by Monica in Olympia. She gets my vote for best explanation.

Posted by Kim in Minneapolis , 4 August 2010

Thanx to Monica in Olympia for a very good explanation!

Posted by Anny in Louisville, KY , 4 August 2010

what you forget to tell is that his full name is Carl Mikael Blomkvist, and in sweden its common to call someone named Carl for Kalle. he chooses to use Mikael instead of Carl, because he doesnt like when people call him KB.

Posted by yonas in stockholm/london , 14 August 2010

also funny that the "kalle" connection was made in a case in which robbers wore donald duck masks - donald duck is kalle anka in sweden :-)

Posted by kalle in ankaborg , 18 August 2010

Right, I forgot the detail of Blomkvist's real first name being Carl. I think it was only mentioned the one time. I wish there had been a better explanation of the of the Carl/Kalle connections in the U.S. versions of the books. Pippi Longstocking is very famous here, but in addition to the name being changed for the American translation, the "Bill Bergstrom" books have been out of print for years. I had to look up Kalle Blomkvist and Bill Bergstrom on Wikipedia to really understand the reference and come up with the analogy I wrote above.

And I didn't know about the Donald Duck/Kalle Anka thing, so thanks for telling me! The American edition of the book mentioned the masks but didn't explain the wordplay involved.

Thanks Swedes for helping out us ignorant, unilingual Americans! (Okay I know a little French and Spanish, but it's been a while, and those doesn't help with Larsson's books. Though it was fun to hear Mimmi speaking French to her parents on the phone in the second movie, which I just saw last week.)

Posted by Monica in Olympia , 2 September 2010

Oops, Bill Bergson, not Bergstrom.

Posted by Monica in Olympia , 2 September 2010

this trillogy is like crack.... I am utterly addicted. It makes me want to take a trip to Sweden. Viva la Blomkvist!!

Posted by reverend eve in santa cruz, ca , 3 September 2010

On the radio today was a man who said "why would he waste his time on the internet when he has a perfectly good encyclopedia". I am in the middle of The Girl who played with fire and have been frustrated at not knowing the meaning of Kalle, all

I did was to type in Kalle and I found the answer Thank you Monica and and I rest my case.

Posted by Avapast in Camberley UK , 3 September 2010

Thank you for the clear explination, Monica. Greatly appreciated.

Posted by Laura in West Allis, WI , 7 September 2010

where can I get an English translation of the

Kalle Blomquist books?

Posted by Sharie in Tampa, Fl , 9 September 2010

Thank you, Monica, for your explanation! (Although I would lay off the "ignorant American" thing. I know you're meaning to be humble, but there's no shame in not knowing every language.)

Posted by Karen in Philadelphia , 10 September 2010

@ Karen in Philadelphia:

No, no shame, but compared to Europeans, who are often multilingual, it's sad how few Americans speak a second language. For instance, you can go to YouTube and find several English-language interviews with Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist. And I'm saying this as someone who never did much with the two foreign languages I did study.

It is interesting that Pippi Longstocking is still so well known in the United States, but Kalle Blomkvist/Bill Bergson seem to have faded out of popular consciousness. Though I wonder how many Swedes know who Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins are.

Posted by Monica in Olympia , 12 September 2010

On the topic of language fluency, it always makes me a bit grumbly when Europeans go on about how American's don't speak more than English, or English and a little Spanish.

If I'm in Stockholm, I can spend half a day on a boat and end up in Helsinki. On the way I can listen to Swedish and Finnish, and usually German and English as well. If I hop on a train, I'm (at most) two days travel from a multitude of languages, depending on what direction I pick. It's much easier to learn (and retain) languages you use!

Alternatively, if I start in Chicago, I could sail a boat to Thunder Bay and then speak English when I got there. I could take a bus for two days and end up in the a multitude of states where they speak English. If I worked at it, I could find areas where people speak other languages.

I took three years of Finnish at University, two of Spanish, one of Dutch, and a half-year of Swedish; but I'm not really fluent at any of them. I've practically no one to talk to!

So if anyone from Europe would like to help me keep my skills sharp and less mock-worthy, go right ahead! :P

Posted by Manda Aanerud in Minneapolis, MN , 15 September 2010

I am firmly behind the "Thanks Monica" group ...a very concise explanation!

Posted by Steen Rancher in Qualicum Beach, Canada , 17 September 2010

Back in 6th grade I was huge "Bill Bergson" fan. The books are long out-of-print (sadly) and I only found "collector" (read: expensive) copies at second hand places. They are great stories, if you manage to track them down somewhere. My sister and I learned the code that Bill and his friends use to communicate, so we could talk together without anyone understanding.

Posted by Cyn in Madison , 23 September 2010

yes, Kalle F***ing Blomkvist, we all know now don't we? i love it.

Posted by danny beano in Stockholm , 30 September 2010

first up, thank you to all who cleared up the "mystery" of Kalle Blomkvist. I am in the middle of reading the last book. Does anyone know if/when the Swedeish version of the "The Girl who played with fire" is going to come to the States. My guess, is its not as they will be filming the American version soon. :-(

Posted by Cherry Pie in Cherry Hill , 4 October 2010

we have seen the first two Swedish movies here in Keene, NH. They were great. I imagine the third one will be here soon. We're a college town and have a theatre that shows independent and foreign movies.

Posted by Elizabethj48 in Keene, NH , 12 October 2010

Cherry Pie

The third movie opened today here in Denver! I would assume that if we managed to get it, Cherry Hill should get them too! I can't wait to watch it!

if you go to the official movie site, there are listings where the movies are opening/showing

Posted by Marcela in Denver, CO , 24 October 2010

i was left wanting for sooo much more after reading the 3rd. Also Thanks Monica for clearing up the confusion on the "Kalle" issue. i assumed it was some inside Swedish joke, but i wasn't going to put down the book to find out!!!

Posted by Xanthe in Hong Kong , 13 November 2010

BTW, does anyone know if it's out on DVD anywhere for the films? I'd love to watch the Swedish version with English Subs.. being in HK, i only saw the advert for the 1st film, which led to me being interested in the books! Now i know it was filmed and released last year, I want to find it and watch it all at once...any ideas?

Posted by Xanthe in Hong Kong , 13 November 2010

I Googled Kalle Bloomqvist when I was reading the first book. It's refresshing to read a book that has been translated, but not Americanized for us Yanks. My wife and I started reading the Harry Potter books with our older daughter and soon became hooked and read them after she outgrew reading with her parents. The first few Scholastic books changed British slang to American slang. They even changed the title of the first book. I was glad when they realzed that we could handle some things that were unfamiliar to us. I've enjoyed learning a little more about Sweden through the books and yes, I'm addicted.

Posted by Scott in Tallahassee, Florida , 13 November 2010

Dear Cherry PIe: The Girl Who Played with Fire may not have played the movie houses, but I got it from Netflix, so you could, too. I am apprehensive about seeing the American versions. I love Lisbeth and Mikael.

Posted by Elaine in Mt. Clemens , 15 November 2010

Hi Xanthe, I'm in malaysia and facing the same problems too!... where can I watch them or get the dvds?

netflix is only for US residents.. darn...

Posted by ati in malaysia , 1 December 2010

I was christened Karl-Erik Eklund in a Swedish Church in New York and called Kalle as a child. I told the Army my name was Karl Erik Eklund because otherwise it would have been Karlerik N.M.I. (No Middle Initial) Eklund. I had some difficulty in Stockholm because i spoke Finland's-Swedish which is more like the spelling than the Stockhold dialect. I found it jarring to have the placenames in the books just given in Swedish in the midst of the english text. Since I didn't read them with my computer nearby I had no sense of where things were. But they were very good otherwise.

They make Julian Assange's cop problems understandable--both the connection with the CIA and the fascist point of view. It will be interesting to see how that turns out.

Posted by Karl-Erik Eklund in Villa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , 14 December 2010

Thanks Monica! The Kalle thing sorted, I then had to look up Henry Huggins on Wikipedia. My name is Kirrilee Huggins. I had no idea there was a book character in existence with my surname in America! It's an unusual surname and one I'm proud of. Two things cleared up :)

Posted by Kirrilee "Huggy" Huggins in Brisbane, Australia , 5 January 2011

@ Monica in Olympia: I agree with your notions of an adult journalist vs. a teenage "detective", but I guess an additional twist from the author's part is that Mikael is actually a bit boyish, naive and idealistic in his thoughts and actions given his age and thus all that mocking is actually much too fitting obviously for his annoyance too... ;-)

A bit similar comparison of him done by Lisbeth is with the only apt and clever pig of Disney's Three Pigs, namely Practical Pig (Bror Duktig in Swedish, Veli Ponteva in Finnish). Here I think the mocking tone is conveyed best in the Finnish version as "ponteva" although basically a positive notion is practically never used except in a more or less mocking context. The Swedish "duktig" has perhaps a bit of the same touch left, but I think the English "practical" is much too normal (or practical ;-) notion to carry all those connotations...

@ Manda Aanerud in Minneapolis: Hieno homma! Tsemppiä vaan. Jos haluat harjoittaa suomeasi, niin minut löytää esim. Facebookista... :-)

Posted by Jussi Tuovinen in Helsinki , 9 January 2011

I appreciate the informative posts here since I was trying to figure out why Blomqvist groaned each time he was called Kalle. Beyond that kind of modest "insider" referencing, I find the constant local references to be an author's vehicle for providing context (each town, neighborhood or even street providing connotations as to class or culture for those knowledgeable about Sweden) which is lost on those (like me) who don't know the country. Larsson may have never guessed that his audience would go beyond his home country and the local references would be readily welcomed there. Is it too much to ask for a map like those in some international spy thrillers?

Posted by Chris in Atlanta , 17 January 2011

I wonder the same about Kalle as I read the second book. Nice to find the answer here thru googling. I also wonder when I am gonna to watch the movies; but perhaps it's better for me to keep the portraits of the characters in mind, in case the movies ruin my imaginations~

Posted by Chian in Shanghai, C , 30 January 2011

It was explained briefly in the English translated version of the second book. I had no idea what they were on about in the first but it all made sense after they explained it!

Posted by Ro in Ireland , 30 January 2011

Don't know which versions of the books you've been reading in the US but in the versions published in the UK the connection between Mikael and "Kalle" Blomkvist is very clearly explained. As a reader totally unfamiliar with Astrid Lindgren's stories I didn't feel I needed to know about them to understand why he had the nickname Kalle. This is no different to John Connolly's protagonist Charlie Parker being called "Bird".

In the Swedish movie adaptations the Kalle references are dropped as they add little to the movie narrative.

Posted by Eltham in Cardiff , 7 Mars 2011

Thanks to all who contributed to the explanation of why Blomkvist did not like the "Kalle Blomkvist" nickname. I was wondering what the connection was between Kalle, which is Swedish for Donald and Blomkvist. I missed the fact that the robbers were wearing Donald Duck masks.

MTCW on hollywood remakes - what people don't do for money. The Swedish films are great because the north american audience does not know the actors. I hate it when "names" are chosen for the box office appeal - they so often disappoint because one mixes them up with previous persona (e.g. Daniel Craig in his James Bond character). A film is so much better when one is not continually comparing the actor to previous characters - one can get engrossed in the story itself that is unfolding on the screen.

Posted by Steve Renolds in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada , 12 Mars 2011

The original 3 Kalle Blomquist movies from 1947, 1953 and 1957 are much better than the remakes. I grew up watching them on German TV in the sixties and loved them!

Posted by Chrissie in Worcester, MA, USA , 14 May 2011

For years I'm planning a trip to Trosa, Sala und vaxholm north of Stockholm where these 3 movies have been filmed. What I was wondering is: are all locations from the movies still the way they looked 50+ years ago? And how can I find the old mine where the children are lost or the old villa where Kalle, Eva-Lotte and Anders are locked in or the big field with the ruin of a castle where the Red Rose and the White Rose are fighting their battles? Does anybody know?

waldenpond88@hotmail.com

Posted by Chrissie in Worcester, MA, USA , 14 May 2011

Just now discovered the Larsson books and have lost much sleep because I can't put them down. Read Dragon and Fire, and watched the (dubbed) DVD of Hornet.

Posted by Anita in Rockford, IL, USA , 28 June 2011

Where can I get an English translation of Lingren's

Kalle Blomquist book? My husband is named Carl

Blomquist

Posted by Sharlene , 25 July 2011

How is "Kalle" pronounced?

Posted by M.H. in Cincinnati, OH , 31 July 2011

Kah-lee

Posted by Broomstra in Ann Arbor , 6 Mars 2012

The explanation of Kalle Blomvkist is in the book, but I had forgotten it. Thanx Monica for the very good explanation.

Posted by Paul F*****g Bellamy in Charlotte, NC , 11 November 2012

Kalle is pronounced like "KAH - LEH" not 'lee' or 'lay'

Posted by Ann in New York, NY , 2 December 2012


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