Monday, March 20, 2017

A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman

            In A Man Called Ove, by Swedish author Fredrik Backman, there is this man, and he is called Ove.

            When we first meet Ove, we see a grouchy old geezer. But at 59, Ove is not really old – perhaps he is old in spirit, rather than old in age. Nonetheless, he is a fixture of sorts in his neighborhood. We see that Ove is rather rigid. There is a way things should be – a way things should be done – and, according to Ove, young ‘uns these days aren’t taught this. Ove cannot understand this generation that has not been taught these basics in self-sufficiency – but does that really make Ove rigid? Ove’s neighbors push themselves into his world – a cat insinuates himself into Ove’s life– and then Ove’s orderly world seems shot to hell.

            Backman has created a thoughtful examination of stereotype versus reality. As we learn more about Ove, peel away layers, so to speak, we learn that people are not always what they appear to be. There are underlying complexities which, once understood, demonstrate how misleading stereotypes and first impressions can be. We have all known an Ove – but how many of us have ever gotten to know our Ove?

            A Man Called Ove is well written, engaging, entertaining, sad, yet a poignant study about our contemporary world. The book has been made into an Oscar nominated movie – I recommend that you read the book before seeing the movie.


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