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A Man Called Ove, is a novel by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish blogger, columnist and writer. It was recommended by my good friend Adrienne, whilst we were on vacation in Copenhagen.
The whole story centres around a man called Ove (so far, so good) who’s wife has passed away and he longs to be together with her again. He is honest and direct and is quick to point out people’s failings and ensure they operate within strict guidelines and boundaries; many of which he helped to define. He could be some people’s idea of the neighbour from hell, however behind that cold and bitter exterior is a man filled with sadness and longing for a love lost.
This cantankerous old man’s life takes a turn for the better (although he may not see it or wish to believe it) when a young couple with two children and another on the way, move in to the neighbourhood. After demolishing his mailbox, the family build a relationship with Ove; a relationship which he becomes an integral part of, like it or not. Hilarious adventures unfold, including a friendship with a cat that has seen better days, but refuses to leave the comfort of Ove’s home.
I loved this book and found it very emotional in parts. Ove shouldn’t be somebody we love; he’s grumpy, complains about anything and everything, and is one of those people who’s glass is always half empty; or maybe even has only a drop or two in the bottom! On the other hand he is funny, dry and witty. I think many of us can relate to him, and many of us likely know a character like him. That’s what makes him so loveable.
What saddened me when reading this book is that there are likely many people out there like Ove, who’ve reached an age in their life, lost people that they’ve loved and now feel trapped in their current life. Everybody else is moving on, technology is developing rapidly and for many, the world outside of their homes must being to appear like a very alien place. However, say that, it is not a sad and depressing book. It is hilarious and uplifting in parts and thought provoking and enquiring in others. It is well written and has a magical flow that makes it very hard to put down. On the surface it’s a simple story, but it has so many levels than many other books that I’ve read.
I loved this book and was sad when I got to the end, not because of the ending per say, but because it was over. I haven’t read any other books that he has written, but I will definitely check them out. Thanks to Adrienne for the recommendation.