Setting: 2010s, Sweden
Rated : 9 Stars
Ove is fifty-nine. He drives a Saab. He's the kind of man who points at people he doesn't like the look of, as if they were burglars and his finger a policeman's torch.
–Fredrik Backman - A man called Ove - c.2013
Ove is a man who knows what is right, and what is wrong. The rules are there for a reason, and just because every body else in society seems to have stopped following them is no reason for him do break them. It is the right way to live.
He owns a Saab. He will always own a Saab. No other car can compare.
When I first started reading A Man Called Ove my biggest issue was how to pronounce Ove. O-vey, or Ov. Google is your friend,[ref]or my friend. Possibly you know Swedish, or have a Swedish friend of your own.[/ref] it’s more Ova than anything but I think I’ll probably stick to my Anglo version of Ovey.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this book. It was a book club choice and, as is often the case with book club reads, it isn’t a book that I would usually pick up. I’m so glad it was chosen though because I loved it.
It reminded me of Victor Meldrew from One Foot in the Grave, although Ove is much more formidable than Victor ever could be. But he has that “grumpy old man” to him, a way of thinking about the world as though everyone else has lost their senses and if only they could see reason they’d all agree with him.
It is also a lot more touching and emotional than One Foot in the Grave usually is, although it does share some of its humour, Ove is a more poignant character, because (slight slight spoiler) Show Spoiler ▼
Of course the best way to meet Ove is without knowing anything about him, and I’ve already given too much away, so I’ll just say that you should read this book. It is an easy, quick read, well worth the time you’ll spend with it.
Of course the grumpy old man is hardly an original or fresh idea, but it is how this stereotype is described that makes this book so worthwhile. Plus the community that Ove finds himself, against his better judgement, a part of.