Book Reviews

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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

Synopsis : This book, as the title suggests, circles around every little detail that happens around Ove and his daily way of living.

This is a man who is very tightly bound between his principles and routines and doubts everything and everyone that don’t have a set of rules to live by. He is particularly opinionated about a person based on the car they drive and nothing is good enough unless it’s a ‘Saab’. In his opinion, everything happening outside his rules, is an agenda or a conspiracy against humanity. As the book progresses into more detail, it gives out an explanation for each one of Ove’s peculiar behaviours and enlightens the fact that this grumpy old man has a big heart (literally) and underneath this hardened exterior is a soul that’s purer than most people on this planet.

Review : In the beginning, this book seems like nothing more than about a grumpy old man who’s set in his way with no room for adaptation or change. To be honest, when I first began reading this it was difficult for me to hang on to it because I am not used to this kind of writing.

This book is divided into a total of 39 chapters and an epilogue, each chapter not more than a few pages and each chapter talking about something different initially and slowly picking up and continuing the story and pushing it forward a little.

It feels somewhat like a game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’. With each chapter you go a little further into the story and towards the end, but the next chapter pulls you all the way back to the past giving elaborate reasoning for Ove’s behaviour in the present.

What initially seems like a compilation of random chapters slowly pans into an elaborate love story of a man who simply existed but never lived until he met a woman and then goes back to just existing after she’s gone. It sends out a strong message of how powerful love is and how it could influence a person’s actions and  behaviour. Ove, a stubborn man without her by his side, is heavily influenced by his father’s teachings and strives for perfection because he believes that’s the only way to do things.

To conclude, this story will take you on a journey from just knowing about Ove to rooting for him in the end. Simply be patient cause it will give you every kind of closure that you need, tie each loose end and not leave you hanging in any way. It is a nice, elegant, simple and beautiful read!

-The Travellothoner

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25 comments

  1. Hmm… based on what I know of old people who are too “set in their ways”, not even the power of love would change them. They’d kiss their wives goodnight, tuck their children to bed, though do it so listlessly, because they yearn for the old times to return. Back when they had more freedom, that is.

    To such people set in their ways, they are not trusting of change, not even of love. They will go back to what they once did, even if they have to sneak that into their marriage.

    People of that sort will typically only ever marry if it meant pleasing someone else who wanted them to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d fallen in love with this book when I read it, from the first page. Actually, now that I think about it, the first time I picked up the book, I didn’t read past the first chapter. The next time I started, I could not stop. I loved the humor and wit in the book, along with the writing. In fact, this is the book that has made my literary taste pivot sharply in recent times. I used to chase after “beautiful sentences” in books. It was, in fact, my sole criterion while reading. With Ove, I gave up this literary snobbishness of mine and encountered the beauty of Backman’s simple sentences. I don’t look at writing the same way anymore. This book made me laugh and cry like few other books ever have.

    I also think readers will enjoy this book as a study in human loneliness and what it’s like to form connections. In times of coronavirus, a lot of us have new appreciation for what loneliness and isolation are really like, especially for the elderly. Although I read this book before the lockdown (while I was in the hills, as a matter of fact), this has by far been the best fiction I’ve read in 2020. And because of the circumstances we’re living in, I think this could be a meaningful read for a lot of people in 2020.

    Happy to find so many people reading this book!

    Liked by 1 person

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