• sujata chaudhury

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove is a novel written by Fredrik Backman and translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch and was published in 2014. As the title suggest this book is about a man named Ove who is fifty-nine years old. Ove is a grumpy old man who has no belief in the current generation as he puts it, "people have no respect for decent, honest functionality anymore, they are happy as long as things look neat and dandy on the computer."

Ove does the same routine every morning. Wakes up at the exact same time never needed an alarm clock. Patrols his locality as if he is the police in charge of his area. Then he gets ready to go to work. But from this Tuesday he does not have to because his office was retiring the 'older generation'. One morning a young couple Parvaneh (a pregnant woman) and Patrick (her husband) moves in next door and accidentally beaks his mailbox. From here starts the comical yet moving story of the man called Ove.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking that's it's quite a common storyline. We have an old, irritable person who at the end of a book transforms into a nice and understanding man. No. It's not like this. Moreover, it's not the kind of book you rush to the end and know what happened. It's one of those books where you take your time, enjoy the story, and let the printed letters soak in. With every passing chapter, you realize the grief, the sadness behind his tough, and criticizing demeanor. Even the other characters in the novel like Ove's neighbor Jimmy, Ove's nemesis Rune or even Ove's unwanted cat and their plotlines add colors to the overall story. Talking about writing, nothing is force-fed, it doesn't pressurize the readers to have a certain view about Ove or any other matter but let the readers decide for themselves. The writing is smooth and the pace of storytelling is just perfect.

When I ordered the book I seriously had very little expectation from it as I also thought the storyline was predictable. But the moment it arrived and I read the first few pages, it was so funny that I couldn't put it down though I was in the middle of another book. At that time I had no idea that this book could offer so much more than just 'funny' and it only gets better. This novel is like a warm blanket on a cold winter night. Give it a read at least once. It's totally worth your time.

“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.” ~ Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove


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