Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.
How many times a day do we think about death? Once? None at all? Do we ever reflect on the impact we have on people surrounding us? How will we be remembered? What type of person am I now, and what type of person will I be 40 years from now? Reflecting on your life’s imprint is a heavy task, if not daunting. However, it is important to think about the way we want to leave the earth. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman leaves you pondering all of those questions as he creates a story about an elderly man called Ove. This story is simply delightful in all ways. I was expecting a tragic story (although there are tragic bits embedded in the plot), however I received a heartwarming and funny novel. Fredrik Backman is a Swedish writer, so this novel has been translated into English. I am thankful I was able to read one of Backman’s works. Boasted as being an international bestseller, A Man Called Ove is recognizably a favorite, and after reading the novel, I completely understand why.
We are introduced to a curmudgeon old man by the name of Ove who seeks the practical things in life and doesn’t have time for anything or anyone that isn’t sensible. However in the mist of his taciturn ways, is a deep story of a man who has suffered many losses. Ove’s story goes back and forth from present to the past where we learn how Ove became the man he is today. All through his life, strings of bad luck hits Ove including losing his wife and job at the age of 59. Ove’s disdain for the world and the people in it are mainly due to the hardships he has had to face. What makes Ove an appealing and lovable character, is that he is selfless and a servant to his community. Ove always seems to help someone in need even if it’s at the expense of his malcontent nature. His benevolent character is further explored and pulled from underneath him when Ove receives new neighbors- a family of four (soon to be five). Parveneh, her husband Patrick, and their two daughters move next door to Ove which buds into a heartfelt (unwilling on Ove’s end) friendship. Through Ove, the author explores deep questions one has about life and love, and the willingness to sacrifice for others. From beginning to end, you can’t help but fall in love with Ove and the events in his life.
Backman’s writing is clean. This transfers well into the novel as well as the story is fluid and easy to understand. Although the novel has heavy questions, it was a surprisingly light read that can be done within a couple of days. I absolutely loved this novel and would recommend it to anyone. The narrative isn’t grandiose, yet reads beautifully, transforming the words into emotions directly from the page. A Man Called Ove will be a classic and forever in my bookcase.