Monday, June 5, 2017

A Man Called Ove

This is a beautiful book.  Read it.

That is the short version of this review.

I had seen A Man Called Ove on best seller lists for a long time. Then, a few weeks ago I was sitting on a bench reading.  A stranger sat down on the same bench and, after a spell, asked me about the book I had and if it was worth a read.  I told her what I thought and asked for a recommendation.  She said A Man Called Ove was specialHer comment plus the many weeks on the best seller list made me want to go get it.  So, I put myself on a waiting list at the library and eventually it arrived.

It is wonderful.  The story takes place in Sweden and is about, well, a man named Ove.  He is a 59 year old curmudgeon who seems difficult to like.  But he endears himself, despite his thorny personality, to others.  The author does a good job of blending the past with the present and making Ove a real character-in both senses of the word.  The evolution of his relationship with Rune-a neighbor, and Ove's beloved Sonja is very well developed.  We learn about his cat, visits to a cemetery, issues with people breaking the rules in his community, a dear neighbor who befriends him, "white shirts" who are the bane of his existence, and assorted other relationships.

The story is laugh out loud funny. It's also sad and moving in many parts. The translator as well as the author, Fredrik Backman, deserve a good deal of credit.  The descriptions of Ove's and others' reactions are so spot on that the reader can just about see facial expressions.

I was half way done when a buddy spotted me with the book and told me he had seen the movie.  I had not known there was a movie, but am looking forward to renting it.  If you've seen the movie and it is lame but not have not read the book, don't let the lame film stop you from reading this one.

You know Ove.  You're likely not like him, but you will like him and he is inspiring in many ways.  Very fast read.  And a sweet ride.

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