“He was a man of black and white.
And she was color. All the color he had.”
A Man Called Ove is the story of a curmudgeon who misses his wife, Sonja, terribly… so terribly that he plans to die. He attempts three times and all attempts fail. Ove begrudgingly decides that he still has people to live for and things to do. It’s not quite It’s a Wonderful Life, but there are parallels to this beautiful, heart-warming tale.
Among the many touching aspects of this story, the relationship between Ove and his neighbor Parvaneh makes my heart swell most of all.
“Parvenah comes out of the bathroom.
‘Are you done?’ Ove wonders, as if he’s suspecting this to be some sort of halftime interval.
She notes, but just as they’re on their way out the door she noticed something in his living room and stops. Ove is standing in the doorway but he knows very well what she’s starting at.
‘It’s… Pah! What the hell, it’s nothing special,’ he mumbles and tries to wave her out the door.
When she fails to move he gives the edge of the door frame a hard kick.
‘It was only gathering dust. I sanded it down and repainted it and applied another layer of lacquer, that’s all. It’s no big bloody deal,’ he grumbles, irritated.
‘Oh, Ove,’ whispers Parvaneh.
Ove occupies himself checking the threshold with a couple of kicks.
‘We can sand it down and repaint it pink. If it’s a girl, I mean,’ he mutters.
Clears his throat.
‘Or if it’s a boy. Boys can have pink nowadays, can’t they?’
Parvenah looks at the light blue crib, her hand across her mouth.
‘If you start crying now you’re not having it.’ warns Ove.
And when she starts crying anyway, Ove sighs – ‘Bloody women’ – and turns around and starts walking down the road.”
This interaction is made even more special by the background story, but you’ll just have to check out the book to find out why. And I highly recommend you do.