My enormous thanks to Bookbridgr and Nikki Barrow at Hodder for providing a review copy of ‘A Man Called Ove’.
Fifty-nine year old Ove thinks everyone is a fool. Ove likes order and routine. He says little but is very good at D-I-Y. His world becomes complicated when new neighbours arrive, who, along with a mangy cat, don’t allow him to get on with his life the way he thinks wants to.
I’d heard a lot about Fredrik BackMan’s ‘A Man Called Ove’ and I had read and thoroughly enjoyed ‘My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises’ so I was expecting great things from ‘A Man Called Ove’. This is always a problem as the potential to be disappointed is high. Phew! I need not have worried. I absolutely adored ‘A Man Called Ove’.
The novel is cleverly constructed in quirkily named chapters that could happily stand alone as short stories in their own right. Written in the continuous present tense there is a freshness and immediacy about the story that draws in the reader so that they are living the events at the same time as Ove. I found the writing perfect and not at all constrained by being in translation. The variety of construction meant that I totally understood Ove’s point of view.
Indeed, as the novel progresses, the reader feels as if Ove is a beloved member of their own family and that all of the other characters are friends they’ve known for years. I’ve seen references to Ove as a kind of Victor Meldrew character, but he is so much more than that. He experiences love, rage and frustration in a totally humane and understandable way. In Ove there is something we can all recognise about ourselves. I feel I have missed out in life by not having met Ove and have to keep reminding myself he isn’t real but is a character in a book.
I also thought the humour was wonderful and I laughed out loud in several places – something I rarely do when reading. I cried too. On the front of my copy of ‘A Man Called Ove’ is an endorsement saying ‘warm, funny… unbearably moving’. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Wonderful.
‘A Man Called Ove’ was published in paperback on 7th May 2015