Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Man Named Ove by Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch

Author:  Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Year: 2014 (English translation) (2012 Swedish Original)
Pages: 337
Genre:Literary fiction/slice of life

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Ove is a grumpy curmudgeon with an uncompromising routine and values finds his world flipped up-side-down when a loud family comprising of a pregnant wife, a klutzy husband and 2 young girls move in next door and run over his mailbox in the process. What ensues is a bittersweet set of events that lead to unexpected friendships, hilarious hi-jinks, the adoption of a broken cat, and many trips to the hospital which reveal that there might be more to Ove than what his neighbors though...


This book was recommended to me by a friend and proved to be a refreshing change of pace with it's slow, character-driven, slice of life narrativeafter binging several crime thrillers. The story will appeals to fans of Pixar's UP and is ultimately about getting past first impressions. The story is told in two times periods, the present day, and flash backs which slowly reveal Ove's life history and give context for what is occurring in the present. 

The story also explores different ideas such as modernization, tradition, community and different types of love (romantic, friendship, family...) in ways that are both humorous and at times bittersweet. (I definitely blubbered several times while reading this on the subway...) Particularly interesting is Ove's recurring struggles against the "white-shirts" an embodiment of faceless, heartless bureaucracy.

This is an overall adorable, easy/fast book with hidden depth that makes you feel the feels and I would highly recommend it. There's also a movie (in Swedish!) which I can't wait to check out!

Rating: 5/5 

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