If readers were expecting an adult fantasy tale in ‘My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises’ they may be disappointed. I haven’t read ‘A Man Called Ove’ (yet, though I will as a result of reading this one by Fredrik Backman) and I understand from other reviews that some readers like this less.
However, as a wonderful story that blends fairy tale myths with real life it is absolutely brilliant. Elsa’s seven going on eight self is wise beyond her years and her character is portrayed utterly convincingly as with all the others who live in the same block of flats. Whilst many of their characteristics are familiar, none is stereotyped. As the stories that link them together unfold, we become aware of the layers of human personalities who have their flaws and their positive aspects.
The writing is skilful and engaging with nothing lost in translation. The plot is well constructed so that the reader is keen to know what happens next as Elsa delivers a range of letters from her recently deceased Grandmother.
Written in the continuous present I can see that some readers might feel that the narrative is overlong, but I loved every word of it. It made me laugh out loud at some of the Grandmother’s comments and it made me cry with empathy for characters I had come to care about in other places.
I’d heartily recommend it, especially to anyone who has felt themselves to be different or who has children or has been a child themselves! As Alf might say, ‘It’s bloody good.’