Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
My first Backman was Beartown which I absolutely adored (see my review here), and which I quickly followed through with Us Against You as soon as it was published (see my review here). While I have received a review copy of Ove years ago, it is only now that Backman has eased his way into my sensibilities once more, and what a gift it had been.
A Man Called Ove (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written by Fredrik Backman
Published by Sceptre Books (2014, first published 2012)
ISBN: 1444775804 (ISBN13: 9781444775808). Original Title: En man som heter Ove. Review copy provided by Pansing.
For readers who have an affinity with cantankerous, frugal (to a fault), disagreeable old men – then Ove is for you. I have read a few Goodreads reviews that shared how Ove’s abrasive nature, narrated in Backman’s flippant voice did not particularly appeal to them – but it was the voice I absolutely needed, the voice that comforted me during the thick of quarantine and stay-safe-at-home directive.
At its core, this is a story about grief, love that nestles into the corners of your mind and resides there, of the pain of allowing people in to one’s existence with the knowledge that loss is inevitable, of rebuilding a house both literally and figuratively, of outsiders and courage, and living a life of uncompromising integrity – regardless of whether people liked you or not, because that is not one’s concern in life, at least from Ove’s perspective.
This is a book that made me laugh out loud in the middle of the night, cry copious tears with my heart aching, then healed yet again by Backman’s deft wordsmithing. This is the stuff the finest literature is made of. There is nothing Backman would write that I wouldn’t read. If you haven’t experienced him yet, you’re in for a treat.
#ReadIntl2020 Update: 33 (of target 30): Sweden (Backman is from Sweden).
15 (for language): translated from Swedish