One of the loveliest books I have ever read, ‘A Man Called Ove’ is a gentle, slightly eccentric story about a man coming to terms with and confronting the prospects of his future and the shadows in his past.
On the surface, Ove is a middle-aged-to-older gentleman, a little set in his ways, who views the world in black and white. He likes numbers, order, and avoids chaos. Angry at the world around him, and struggling to deal with the circumstances of his present, he’s rigid and at times uncompromising – particularly where vehicular-related restrictions apply on his street. He is pro-active in his defence, and enforcement, of adherence to rules, and stout in the face of anybody that challenges them. Scratch his surface, however, and he’s a hero with an enormous, soft heart, willing to sacrifice his own comforts for those around him.
Confidently weaving explorations into Ove’s past throughout the story, the author seamlessly reveals great insights and experiences that build to make Ove the person he has become: a tangle of thoughts, memories and uncertainties that seem to intersect and conflict with each other. He’s simultaneously deeply emotional, and an emotionless void. He once was full, but now is empty, and disillusioned even more so.
From page one I connected to Ove and really liked him, despite his obvious flaws, and by the end of the book I loved him completely. This is a story of personal triumph, of self-discovery, of love. The characters – as with the rest of the book – are well-written, well-developed, and well-presented.
Each of the characters enjoys a distinct role, personality and range of unique character traits that are immediately-identifiable, relatable, and wonderful. The mix of people is well thought out and, as a reader, you can instantly recognise and appreciate their charms.
The story is a creative – sometimes surprising – tale of courage and discovery, that is light, instantly intriguing, and easy to read. This is a well balanced book, with touches of humour, tragedy, and dramatic tension that pack a surprising punch.
Written in a light, and unexpected style, it’s a deeply charming story about a man that discovers friendship, strength, hope, and forgiveness – if not always in the most conventional of ways. It is a beautiful story of love, life, and loss, with Ove learning that his future is intricately interwoven with the experiences of his past.