Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman (translated by Henning Koch)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
“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…”
When I finally closed this book (a moment which came infinitely too soon), I lay my head in my hands and bawled my eyes out for a solid half an hour. Then, once the hiccoughing had dissipated to an acceptable level, I opened it up and started it all over again.
I adored this book; it is tender, funny and heart-breaking in equal measure. The writing slides effortlessly from chapter to chapter, painting beautiful and often droll portraits of its characters. Ove himself is subtly and poignantly crafted whereby he infuriated me beyond belief until I fell hopelessly in love with him. Peppered with exquisite turns of phrase, often the very last lines of chapters would reveal the simplest of details and in doing so completely change my perspective on everything I had just read. This is a warm, quiet novel about love, loss and the reluctant kindness of the cantankerous. I urge you, read it and treasure it.
If you like this, you might like: A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon