Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ove is ornery and rigid. He doesn't like people. He loves his wife but she's gone. Ove is tired of his empty life. But that's not the way the story begins. We begin in the middle or more at the end where Ove is arguing with the sales associate over an IPad. All he wants is the best computer and it has to be an IPad and he's handed this little, flat box and he wants to know where the keyboard is. Computers have keyboards.

We then go back in time where the real story begins, at least as far as all the main characters are concerned. Ove is ornery, rigid, and tired. Ove has just been forced to retire so he's also rather irritated. Ove's life and how he came to be the Ove we know and also the Ove we don't comes in short flashes that are very clever and very enlightening. But first we have to meet Parvana.

Admittedly, I read this book weeks ago and I've already forgotten the names of everybody except Ove and Parvana. Because this book would not be a story worth reading without Parvana. A few things to know about this book is that it is Swedish. That helps marginally in putting it into perspective yet, for reasons I can not fathom, the translation is absolutely perfect for American English. Flawless.

So Ove is planning his death when he hears a horrible sound. He exits his place of residence which is in an HOA of some sort (this is important to Ove and to other characters) and finds Parvana, beautiful, Iranian, and very, very pregnant Parvana, looking incredibly peeved at her too tall, lanky, good natured husband who is in the process of backing up the trailer to their new home. Except he runs over Ove's mailbox.

The book is about Ove who the reader comes to love for all his quirks and his prickly personality issues but the book could not, absolutely could not be enjoyable AT ALL without Parvana. She barges into Ove's life, his orderly, deserted life, and makes him a part of a bigger community. She is high strung, high maintenance, feels absolutely no boundaries apply to her, highly ethical and she drags Ove into every real and slightly contrived crises of which he resents.

It's a "Feel Good" read which I recommend.

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