A Man Called Ove (Paperback)
This is a lovely, loving and lovable book. Cathy Langer of Tattered Cover recommended it to my wife, Judy who then passed it to me. I am glad of both recommendations and am looking forward to the author’s next book.
Ove can only be called a curmudgeon. Profoundly opinionated, intolerant of fuzzy thinking and inflexible in every way, he seems, at first, to be an unsympathetic character. As his story emerges, however, the reader begins to understand the sources of these apparent flaws and to regard them as more virtuous than otherwise. To be clear he never over the course of the story becomes any less invested in any of these attitudes, but there is a positive growth in his emotional consciousness and there are revelations of a caring and tolerant side to this grumpy old man.
Each chapter is titled mirroring the book; “A Man Called Ove Drills a Hole for a Hook” (which is significant in a way I’ll not spoil for you), “A Man Called Ove and a Clown Named Beppo”, etc., and each is accompanied with a whimsical drawing of a carpenter’s tool that adds a lighthearted tone. In fact, the tenor of the book is playful in spite of some rather dark factors and in the end is positively heartwarming. I challenge anyone with a tender heart to read this without shedding a tear or two.
There’s not much of a plot, but plenty of subplots and a satisfying degree of character development in Ove and his neighbors. In fact, it’s the neighbors who drive much of the action. Some warm relationships and a few deep enmities are responsible for situations where wry humor reigns sovereign. I recommend this highly. One should always listen carefully when Cathy Langer speaks.
August 2014 Indie Next List
“A Man Called Ove by Swedish blogger and columnist Backman is one of those books you read and then want everyone else to read, too. It is also one of those books where you don't dare go into detail about the main character, the setting, or the plot because that would ruin the experience for others. Suffice it to say that the man whose name is Ove is a curmudgeon. He's grumpy. He's cantankerous. And he is a delight! Long may he harrumph!”
— Rene Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA
Read the New York Times bestseller that has taken the world by storm Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon--the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations. A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Fredrik Backman's novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. "If there was an award for 'Most Charming Book of the Year, ' this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down" (Booklist, starred review).