Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman,

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

Hardcover, 337 pages
Audiobook, 9 hours, 12 minutes 
Published July 15, 2014
 by Atria Books
5/5 stars

I am definitely a mood reader, and this book is a testament to that. I first started reading it when it was released back in 2015, but set it aside because I felt it was a bit too grumpy. Recently, however, I watched the movie adaptation of A Man Called Ove and loved it, so I figured it was time to revisit the novel.

A Man Called Ove is one of my favourite reads of 2023. It is a beautiful novel by Fredrik Backman and was his debut, that sets the bar pretty high for his subsequent books.

A Man Called Ove is the story of a 59-year-old recent widow. He is angry and intolerant of other people's stupidity, and isn't afraid to call them idiots when they don't follow the rules he tries to enforce. When a new family moves in across the street, things slowly start to change for Ove, and what follows is a madcap story that had me laughing out loud, feeling Ove's pain as he goes back in time, and learning of his relationship with his wife. This is an incredibly well-written story that will tug at your heartstrings, make you shed a few tears of joy and sadness, but ultimately leave you with a warm feeling in your heart. 

I am now reading the author's backlist, and I have already read the Beartown trilogy, which has two of my favourite reads of 2022.  Be on the lookout next month for a review of Anxious People.

This book was part of my 2023 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge (#9.)

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