* Click click click* That’s the sound of me buying everything Fredrik Backman has written. I know I’m late to the game having just read A Man Called Ove but I’m going to ask forgiveness by saying that everyone who told me to read it was right–so very right.
A Man Called Ove is the story of the quintessentially grumpy old man. A lover of routine, set in his ways, and with a strong sense of right and wrong, Ove isn’t exactly an easy man to know or befriend. We meet Ove after he has been forced to retire from a job he’s worked hard at for the last 30 years. He’s now living alone and honestly isn’t very happy about it (I’d say more but spoilers) and just when he thinks he’ll finally be “getting on with things” the new neighbors run over his mailbox with a trailer. That’s when we meet Parvaneh, a young pregnant woman who comes to live next door with her husband and daughters and in the process completely moves into Ove’s life–as much as he fought against it.
Ove’s story is told through a montage of current events (a borrowed ladder, a fight with a dog, a ill neighbor/friend) and the memories these events trigger (the story of Ove and his wife, a fire, a train crash). Each one of these vignettes adds to our impression of Ove until he’s no longer the mean old neighbor but the man who’s heartbreak causes us to weep and his victories you can’t help buy smile over.
I started A Man Called Ove with no expectations and without reading any blurbs or reviews so I didn’t really know what to expect and I’m kind of glad that was the case. I can honestly say that I don’t know if this would have been a book I picked up just from the blurb but it is the kind of book that I loved so much my first thought when reaching the last page was to start it again immediately. After I found a box of tissues that is–yup Kleenex warning fyi. I wish I had the words to describe this novel better because honestly I feel like this review is failing miserably at trying to express how wonderful this book is. The best I can come up with is charming. Ove is simply charming. But really, just read it, you won’t be sorry. Oh and, please remember vehicle traffic is prohibited in the residential area.
Rating: 5 stars
Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Release Date: August 2012 in Swedish/July 2014 in English