I haven’t written about books in ages but I recently finished off a novel that really moved me.
Whilst we were away I finished reading Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to life on Earth (which is also fantastic and you must read it even if you don’t care about Space or Astronauts) and I had to get another book to read. While I was browsing the Barnes and Noble shelves, Mr K turned up with a book I’d never even heard of, declaring it looked “right up my street”. I thought I’d give it a go since it’s already an international bestseller, and that’s quite some doing for a Swedish debut.
The book was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and I could tell right away that I was going to love it. I just didn’t know how much.
A Man Called Ove tells the tale of…a man called Ove, who has recently been made redundant from his long-term job. On the surface of things, he’s your typical grumpy old man who grumbles about everything and has empathy for nobody – and we all know someone like that. As the story unfolds we learn more about the miserable old sod, and discover that, actually, he’s quite a character. We all love someone like that, too.
It’s quirky, saddening, joyous and heartwarming all in equal measure.
It’s the first book in a long time that has reduced me to tears, and the only one that has ever done it on more than one occasion. I’m generally reluctant to declare that books have changed my life – bar a select few – but I feel like this one has at least changed my outlook on life.
There may be a grumpy bugger in your vicinity, but they may have untold loss and sorrow. They might have secret compassion. They might be just like Ove.
If you’re not a big reader then you’ll be glad to know this isn’t long or difficult. If you are a big reader, you’ll be glad to know that despite the former, it’s also well written and engaging. If you’re a human, had a grandfather, know an old person, appreciate the pain of loss, hate the council, drive a saab or have a cat, you should read this book.