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A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman - Book Review


Summary

A Man Named Ove is a tale of affection, friendship, sympathy, sorrow, and an overarching ode to friends and community’s significance in dealing with loss. 

Ove describes the sort of person who would call a fool a fool on his face, pointing to someone he despises as if they were muggers caught outside his window, as a grumpy person, especially an old one.   With unrelenting beliefs, habits, and anger ready to go off at the drop of a hat, he is a man of habit—a man with zero correctness in politics and strict enforcement. People name him the bitter neighbor from hell in his neighborhood. He mistakenly judges like that unless you look closer to him.

Looking a  little closer at this human portrait, I begin to realize that there is a sorrow in his life that manifests from a rough childhood, lack of a mother figure childhood, being orphaned at a very young age, losing a baby, having a wife suffering from a life-changing injury, losing a close friend’s relationship, losing his wife and a series of unsuccessful attempts of suicidal. In the middle of reading, readers will come up to a  big realization that being alive is a miracle for this man, let alone getting the amount of cleanliness he does. 

Until the day came where the man finally decides to end his life, the chatty young couple in his neighborhood accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox. At that moment, everything changes.

What is untangled is a heartwarming story of stubborn cats, unlikely friendships, unwelcome roommates, funny little girls with lots of pencils rescued.  Friendships and discovery, revealing the Ove into which his wife had sunk.   Not only do you begin to understand why Ove is who he is, but you also start to love and cheer for him.

Commentary

Fredrik Backman is the author of A Man Named Ove, Britt-Marie Was Here, Us Against You,  My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and Nervous People with the two novels and one nonfiction work. There are more than 40 countries where his books are published. 

“A Man Called Ove” is a perfect pick. It is well written and full of every day worries. It lacks aggression and profanity, and it is life-affirming and connection-driven. The book is bittersweet, tender, humorous, and almost sure to evoke tears, often stunningly. The novel characters are crusty, shy, big-hearted men who grumble but still love my readers.

The memories and important events that influenced Ove are revealed in each chapter of this beautifully crafted novel. They unfold to illustrate tragedies and personal sorrows that embittered him and a stoic strength and acceptance that made it possible for him to cope. When new characters are introduced, and the plot progresses, the personal details of his biography appear. Severe universal themes of displacement, depression, feelings of worthlessness, aging, ill health, and alienation are presented by A Man Named Ove. It is an inspirational celebration of passion for life and individuals’ appreciation for their essence and unique characteristics.

This book is like a relief after hardships, and it was a marvelous one.  Ove serves as just about any voice. The high-level-superior art of writing made the voice work so well. The chapters move smoothly between past tense and current tense and add to the degree of art and narrative. Another great thing about this novel is that it’s all about the sadness and despair of Ove over the loss of his wife Sofia, and yet the author keeps the reader entranced as he tries to grow thru the story. There are small plotlines and micro-conflicts that support the plot while the theme is served by the character development. This work of Backman is highly recommended to everyone to enlighten the darkness they have in life.

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