It’s a charming, page turning fable. An international bestseller. A debut written by Swedish blogger Fredrik Backman.
Here’s Ariele Stewart with an excerpt from her book review: “If you like to laugh AND feel moved AND have your heart applaud wildly for fictional characters, you will certainly fall for the grumpy but lovable Ove. Ove has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him ‘the bitter neighbor from hell,’ but he’s just the type of man who puts his head down and gets his work done without help from “twitters” or “iPizzles” or whatever it is that people have their heads buried in these days. But while Ove is a taciturn, unsmiling curmudgeon of a man, his disapproving exterior hides an unexpectedly moving personal history–and the pain of his lost love for his recently deceased wife Sonia. Even now, it makes me teary to think of Ove’s beautiful love for his wife, his light leaving the world.”
There’s no single quote that I could find that catches the spirit or the rhythm of this story but this will capture a bit of the soul of Ove:
“Sonja said once that to understand men like Ove and Rune, one had to understand from the very beginning that they were men caught in the wrong time. Men who only required a few simple things from life, she said. A roof over their heads, a quiet street, the right make of car, and a woman to be faithful to. A job where you had a proper function. A house where things broke at regular intervals, so you always had something to tinker with. ‘All people want to live dignified lives; dignity just means something different to different people,’ Sonja had said. To men like Ove and Rune dignity was simply that they’d had to manage on their own when they grew up, and therefore saw it as their right not to become reliant on others when they were adults. There was a sense of pride in having control. In being right. In knowing what road to take and how to screw in a screw, or not. Men like Ove and Rune were from a generation in which one was what one did, not what one talked about.”
If you like to laugh AND feel moved AND have your heart applaud wildly for fictional characters, you will certainly love this novel.
A Man Called Ove: A Novel: Highly Recommended