A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Book 7/30.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first five star read of 2021 🤩

This was an incredibly charming book. It was funny, sad, heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. All the characters in the book were so alive and it was an absolute joy to witness how their friendships with Ove formed, despite his determined resistance at the beginning.

There are sooo many things to love about A Man Called Ove but for me the author’s writing is the star of the book. It is clean and simple but also very insightful, wise and evocative.

People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.

Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.

All people at root are time optimists. We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if’.

And time is a curious thing. Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. Memories, perhaps.

He had never heard anything quite as amazing as that voice. She talked as if she was continuously on the verge of breaking into giggles. And when she giggled she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter.

See what I mean when I say the author’s writing is insightful, wise and evocative. It is also hilarious. Fredrik Backman is very very very funny. Not since Paper Towns by John Green has a book made giggle/laugh so much.

Ove glares out of the window. The poser is jogging. Not that Ove is provoked by jogging. Not at all. Ove couldn’t give a damn about people jogging. What he can’t understand is why they have to make such a big thing of it. With those smug smiles on their faces, as if they were out there curing pulmonary emphysema. Either they walk fast or they run slowly, that’s what joggers do. It’s a forty-year-old man’s way of telling the world that he can’t do anything right. Is it really necessary to dress up as a fourteen-year-old Romanian gymnast in order to be able to do it? Or the Olympic tobogganing team? Just because one shuffles aimlessly around the block for three quarters of an hour?

The two men looked at each other for a moment. Then Sonja’s father nodded. And Ove nodded curtly back. And then they rose to their feet, objective and determined, in the way two men might behave if they had just agreed to go and kill a third man.

The story is laced with loneliness, with life’s numerous disappointments and with hope, humour and heart as well. It shows how healing can occur with the unlikeliest of people, in the unlikeliest of ways and I know this story will live with me for a very long time.

11/10 would recommend.

View all my reviews

** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s