I didn’t know anything about this book when I decided to read it, I just had a gut feeling that I was going to love it. Something about the cover, I suspect. A man and a cat. What more could you ask for? Well, this cover was true to its word. This book was excellent and has officially joined the ranks as one of my favorites.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Henning Koch
Published by Atria Books on July 15th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Narrator: George Newbern
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
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A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.
What was wonderful: All of it.
1. This book is essentially a character portrait. You become intimately acquainted with a 59-year-old curmudgeon named Ove (pronounced “ooo-vuh”). He has got to be one of the best characters I’ve ever read. I mean really. And that’s saying a lot considering I read a lot of books and there are numerous characters in each book…
2. The relationships between Ove and his neighbors are actually perfect. They are authentic, often heart-warming, sometimes heart-breaking, and always excellent.
3. THE WRITING WAS SO GOOD. It’s written in Ove’s voice (3rd person omniscient), and holy crap his commentary about basically everything is hilarious (I saw one review call it “comically accurate,” which is the best way to describe it!). I can’t believe this book wasn’t originally written in English. Bravo to Henning Koch, the translator, because it was incredibly well done!
4. The audiobook narrator, George Newbern, did an AMAZING job reading this book. AMAZING. I would 100% recommend this one as an audiobook.
This is a book about people and their feelings and their flaws and ultimately, their capacity to love. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading heart-warming (and tear-jerking) novels about, well, people.
Have you read this? How about any of Fredrik Backman’s other novels? I can’t wait to read more of him. I have a suspicion I’m going to love them all.