If you, like me, have ever adored and also been bewildered by someone who can best be described as ‘crotchety’ or ‘cantankerous’, I highly recommend that you read this book.
A Man Called Ove is a lovely peek in to the life of a salty old man and the life events that formed his world view. Ove is a widower and is trying to commit suicide in various well-planned ways. He likes no one, has no family or friends, and is ready to join his beloved wife in death. To his consternation, he is repeatedly foiled in his plans by others. Ove, like my own curmudgeonly loved one, isn’t the sort of person who can tolerate the unfair or disorderly in the world. If he sees something broken, he fixes it. If he sees a cat being abused, he saves it (despite his professed hatred of said cat). If he encounters an accident on the very train rail where he is actively trying to take his own life, he helps out and puts off his plans for another day.
The story is told in chapters that alternate between Ove’s present and his past. It’s an effective device because just as you become frustrated with Ove’s obstinacy in his current life, Backman takes you back to his formative years and shows how he became the man he is.
I read this book already predisposed to be quite fond of Ove and thinking of my own family member as I read it. The neighbors that force their way in to Ove’s very isolated life are bright, brilliant contrasts to the staid dull browns of Ove’s routine.
There is an epilogue to the book, which runs through several years in the span of a few pages. I am not typically a fan of an epilogue- it often seems like a way to tack on the bit that was too hard to write- but I do appreciate this one.
Overall, this book was darling and I will definitely be re-reading. The book also contained the first two chapters of another novel by Backman, so I may give that a try as well. It will be hard to top the charm of Ove.
This is my #Reading the TBR square