Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication date: 3rd July 2014
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“The word-of-mouth bestseller causing a sensation across Europe, Fredrik Backman’s heartwarming debut is a funny, moving, uplifting tale of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step.
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.
But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so? In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible..”
“A time like that comes for every man, when he chooses what sort of man he wants to be. And if you don’t know the story, you don’t know the man.”
A Man Called Ove takes the reader on an adventure from the first page. Ove lives a simple life and doesn’t care for nonsense. He strives to complete his duties and doesn’t understand his neighbours who drive lavish cars and work fancy jobs. I soon began to admire Ove’s outlook on life and was intrigued to find out more about his background.
This book marks some of the most distinct traits of Fredrik Backman’s writing. His main strength is the ability to develop a main character to such an extent that by the end the character seems like a close friend to share secrets with. I often found myself laughing along with Ove at some of the mishaps and events written in a similar fashion to other books by this author. The highs were contrasted by lows when we discover that Ove’s wife had died years ago. Despite the trauma and suffering, Ove bounced back to become a dutiful neighbour and citizen in his own bizarre way.
I admire Fredrik Backman’s unique way of combining tragedy and humour to create a genuine connection and hint that there is always something to look forward to even in our darkest moments. Few authors are able to achieve this without it seeming distasteful yet somehow Fredrik Backman manages to do it with ease.
There are not enough superlatives to use when describing this book. For me it was simply marvelous and a delight to read from beginning to end. I didn’t want it to finish and by the end I could already imagine myself as Ove’s neighbour. I highly recommend it to readers of all ages and tastes as I am sure that there are many messages to reflect upon no matter what stage of life. Ultimately, it is a celebration of life and a reminder that every moment with loved ones matters.
“Time is a curious thing. Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead.”