I am growing increasingly fond of Swedish authors. My first love is The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared Jonas Jonasson. My new love is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Both of these novels examine Swedish men who are approaching the end of their lives, and both are rather amusing.
Ove is a middle aged man who is struggling to adapt to new way of life. He is a creature of habit and has mostly lived his life the same way from day to day and he is suddenly forced into retirement after tragedy has stricken his home. He is not particularly popular in his neighborhood and has managed to make several enemies due to his harsh adherence to the rules and his reputation as a curmudgeon. However, upon the arrival of a new family next door all of his habit are forced to be broken.
This novel is a wonderful examination of how a person is not always what they appear. Ove seems to be an angry, mean old man but the reality is that his harsh exterior hides a passionate person who has been through the ringer and throws himself with gusto into any problem that faces him. He’s not a man that cares about very many things but when he does care, he cares a lot.
This story has a displays a lot of tragedy and will bring many readers to the brink of tears, however, there is a layer of optimism that contributes to the humor that is sprinkled throughout. it a wonderful read that transitions seamlessly between Ove’s past and present. Backman has definitely been added to my ‘must read’ list.