I feel particularly lucky that Atria books has provided me with a copy of this book through NetGalley.
Ove is a man who tells us that he sees the world in black and white. He drives a Saab, he pays his taxes and his mortgage and never calls in sick to work. Sonja, his wife, is the color, the only color in his world. So when she dies and he is forced into an early retirement, he decides that he no longer wants to live.
Each time Ove tries to commit suicide, his well-meaning but annoying neighbors foil his plans. This book does have its sad moments but it also gave me a hearty laugh at many points. As much as Ove wants to just be left alone and keep the outside world at a distance, that world keeps encroaching on his peace. He even ends up living with a mangy alley cat even though he doesn’t like cats.
On the surface, Ove seems like a crabby old man who is mad at the world. But through a series of flashbacks to earlier times in his life we learn that fate has not been very kind to Ove. One of the themes of this book that will resonate with a wide range of readers is the fact that we should not judge a person’s exterior because behind every human face is a story.
This is one of those rare books in which I savored every word and will be thinking about it long after I finished the last page and wipe the tears from my eyes. Fredrik Backman is a master at character development. It is not easy to write an engaging novel with a single character as the focus. If you choose to read one book this summer, then it should be A Man Called Ove.
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