A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman, trans. from the Swedish by Henning Koch. Atria, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3801-7
In this Swedish bestseller, Ove is a lovably miserable neighborhood curmudgeon—think a cross between Up’s Carl Fredricksen and Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson—who spends his days inspecting his community and criticizing others, judging each by how closely he follows rules and his choice of automobile (Ove cannot reason with BMW drivers). After his handicapped wife dies and he is forced to retire from his job, Ove decides he’s ready to leave the world behind. But every time he tries to off himself, he’s interrupted—first by his new neighbor, the pregnant Parvaneh; then by Parvaneh’s clumsy husband, Patrick; Anita, the wife of Ove’s former best friend; Jimmy, Ove’s overweight neighbor; Adrian, the neighborhood mailman; and finally a mangy feline Ove calls “Cat Annoyance.” Ove continuously pushes his demise from one day to the next, and, as time passes, these characters slowly weave themselves into his life, offering Ove a chance at rebirth. The debut novel from journalist Backman is a fuzzy crowd-pleaser that serves up laughs to accompany a thoughtful reflection on loss and love. Though Ove’s antics occasionally feel repetitive, the author writes with winning charm. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/05/2014
Release date: 07/15/2014
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Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4767-3803-1
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Hardcover - 503 pages - 978-1-4104-7292-2
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