Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 3rd July 2014 (1st published 2012)
Book Source: Hatchette Australia & NetGalley
Synopsis: There is something about Ove.
At first sight, he is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.
But isn't it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?
In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible...
Hard to believe this is Swedish author Fredrik Backman's debut novel ... what an unexpected delight! Can't believe I've used delight ... for a story in which the protagonist, 59 year old Ove wants nothing more than to end his life and join Sonja, his wife of 40 years who has recently passed.
Ove is a grump, a die-hard Saab owner, a man who lives by the rules, cynical, ornery, taciturn but underneath all that bluster is a marshmallow heart. According to Sonja, Ove can be 'unforgiving' ... Ove calls it having 'firm principles'.
As we get Ove's backstory, we see him through Sonja's eyes, we share their sweet love story, and we feel Ove's heartache after Sonja dies and the colour leaves his world.
Enter new neighbours, Parvaneh and her family, a stray cat, a bunch of other interesting characters, a list of demands, and Ove's ordered life goes out the window. Along the way for me were unexpected laughs, tears and joy as Ove found new meaning and purpose in life. Oh that mangy cat and Ove were a match made in heaven :)
A Man Called Ove is a whole lot of feeling ... deeply touching, warm, sweet, snerk-funny, smart, sad, endearing. I laughed and cried. It really is quite irresistible.