A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

If you are looking for some kindness in a book, A Man Called Ove is for you.

Genre: novel. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 4.35. ⭐️Stars from me: 5.

A Man Called Ove is a fairytale for adults. There are no dragons or harry potters, but its purpose is the same. It soothes and lulls you while telling you a story of kindness where good conquers bad. In this way, it’s similar to Woody Allen’s movies where the plots are clear, characters are understandable and the events develop according to the old school rules of story telling.

A man called Ove is a grumpy old chap, created so perfectly he annoys you as much as he annoys his neighbours. The book then goes on to show what happened to Ove to make him who he is, and who he actually is.

Not only does the book make you laugh and cry, it makes you do so simultaneously. It’s heart-wrenching and heartwarming at the same time.

The story is written so well that I eventually gave up on writing out the quotes. I liked them all. I ordered a printed copy, and when it arrives I will probably underline each phrase in the book. The author, Fredrik Backman, does overuse similes (similes are phrases like “when she giggled she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter”), but they are so good you just want them to keep coming.

The audio version, though, doesn’t do the book justice. The narrator can read, of course, but only comparing to people who cannot. He ignores even obvious leads from the text. The text says “she hissed”, the narrator groans, the text says “he mumbled”, the narrator screams. This oxymoronic reading screws with your brain. It’s tiring to be constantly watching the actual words and ignoring narrator’s intonation to adjust the perception.

I found out the book was made into a movie. The movie is also Swedish. According to my humble taste movies from that part of the globe are worth watching, especially movies based on such books. I was also excited to learn that there will be an adaptation starring Tom Hanks. He would be perfect for the role!

The book gets five stars from me and I would suggest checking out the movie too.

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