A Man Called Ove

There have been quite a few “cute” books of late. Cute meaning that they’re quirky little stories of interesting characters doing peculiar stuff – like being 100 years old and climbing out of a window in a senior’s home, or hiding in a wardrobe while trying to buy a bed of nails at Ikea, or in the case of A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, just being an old curmungeon trying to instil law and order in his local neighbourhood. A feat by the way, that he finds terribly hard to achieve because it seems nobody pays any attention to the rules. The story starts out with Ove trying to buy an iPod. It’s really funny. He’s dealing with a sales assistant “with a single digit body mass index” who looks ill at ease as Ove shakes the box and demands to know if it’s a computer. Why he wants this doesn’t appear again til the very end of the story. By then I’d forgotten about the iPod because the story is full of episodes pertaining to just how difficult Ove is to get along with. Even though he was ousted as Chairman of his Residents’ Association he still does his morning rounds of the community, just making sure things are as they should be – he’s that type of curmudgeon. The character Ove was born on Backman’s blog where over 1,000 readers voted for him to write a novel about Ove.  The book subsequently became a word-of-mouth sensation across Europe, and now it’s here on our bookstore shelves. I liked it a lot. It’s about love and community, it’s tender and moving in parts, and it’s very funny. Give it a go.

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