Sunday, 8 May 2016
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
When I first started reading this book, I thought the language seemed a bit stilted and unwelcoming, sort of like Ove himself. I put it down to the author writing his native language and then the translator Henning Koch, himself a Swede, putting his own spin on the words. After a few pages I grew used to the writing style and started to fall in love with the book and it's unique character.
Ove is a good man, he's worked hard all his life, is true to his adored wife and diligent in meeting his own exacting standards. He never got into the habit of cultivating friends as his wife provided all the company and companionship he ever thought he needed.
His new neighbour Parvaneh didn't know this and wasn't about to be told she couldn't be his friend. She didn't set out to totally disrupt Ove's life, but that's what happened with her simple neighbourly requests. I loved watching her little intrusions into his orderly life and plans. All the little nudges and tweaks resulting in cascade of change.
I didn't know what to expect when I started this book; I have heard so many good reviews and recommendations though nothing specific. I'm glad I didn't let the awkward beginning scare me away as this was a most rewarding read that I would have been sorry to miss. I really hope that there are lots of Parvaneh's out there knocking on their neighbour's doors.
Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for use of the cover image.