Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman [Backman or CD Backman] 

I identified very strongly with this story, even though the protagonist is a 59-year-old Swedish male and I am a 56-year-old American woman. Our age bracket is about the only similarity between us, on the surface, that is. This is a contemporary tale about love and loss – really it is, stick with it! — and how the past influences the future, and how the future can be brighter than one might think after having lived through various tragedies and injustices over a lifetime. Ove (oo-vuh) is someone you would most likely characterize as crabby and unhappy, much like the “You kids get off my lawn!” persona, until you get to know him much better. Which goal his new neighbor, a very pregnant Iranian woman with a tall blond husband and two young daughters, sets out to achieve. Along the way, I found myself agreeing with Ove on almost every subject about which he had an opinion, and that’s most everything. I also found myself engrossed in the story of Ove’s life and how he coped with and overcame many obstacles that would have crushed a lesser, less focused person. That’s not to say that Ove doesn’t want to give up at times, but I’ll let you discover more about that yourself. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say that Ove is more like an onion than a potato, which latter he eats on a regular basis, and his layers are revealed with humor and heartache in equal parts. I listened to the audio edition of the book which is narrated by American actor George Newbern, who does a wonderful job of giving each character a distinct voice and capturing the blend of bluster and benevolence of “a man called Ove.” (The novel contains occasional swearing and some adult subject matter.)

[ official A Man Called Ove page on the publisher’s official Fredrik Backman web site (author’s own official site is in Swedish) ]

Recommended by Becky W. C.
Walt Branch Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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