A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
2015 Washington Square Press
Finished on May 25, 2015
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet, a curmudgeon with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People think him bitter, and he thinks himself surrounded by idiots.
Ove's well-ordered, solitary world gets a shake-up one November morning with the appearance of new neighbors, a chatty young couple and their two boisterous daughters, who announce their arrival by accidentally flattening Ove's mailbox with their U-Haul. What follows is a heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unlikely friendships, and a community's unexpected reassessment of the one person they thought they had all figured out.
A word-of-mouth bestseller that has caused a sensation across Europe, Fredrik Backman's irresistible novel about the angry old man next door is an uplifting exploration of the unreliability of first impressions, and a gentle reminder that life is sweet when it is shared with other people.
A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Fredrik Backman's novel is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.
This delightful novel could easily be read in a day or two. It took me an entire month, though, mainly because I was on vacation and busy with other things earlier in the month. However, reading for just 10-15 minutes each night was a nice way to savor this gem of a story. I fell in love with Ove, whose struggles with grief tugged at my heartstrings, while his stubborn inflexibility made me laugh out loud. This is one to own and read again!
She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.and
“Now you listen to me," says Ove calmly while he carefully closes the door. "You've given birth to two children and quite soon will be squeezing out a third. You've come here from a land far away and most likely you fled war and persecution and all sorts of other nonsense. You've learned a new language and got yourself an education and you're holding together a family of obvious incompetents. And I'll be damned if I've seen you afraid of a single bloody thing in this world before now....I'm not asking for brain surgery. I'm asking you to drive a car. It's got an accelerator, a brake and a clutch. Some of the greatest twits in world history have sorted out how it works. And you will as well." And then he utters seven words, which Parvaneh will always remember as the loveliest compliment he'll ever give her. "Because you are not a complete twit.”
While this feel-good novel may make you laugh, it will also touch you on a deeper level. Ove is an unforgettable character and I look forward to reading this charming book again in the coming years. Highly recommend!