“A time like that comes for every man, when he chooses what sort of man he wants to be. And if you don’t know the story, you don’t know the man.” This was the story of Ove (pronounced oo-va), a crotchedy old man in Sweden who had more to live for than he realized. Ove thinks that things should be done a certain way – you buy a Saab because Saabs are the best. You don’t drive through the neighborhood, you park in the parking area. You learn how to back up a trailer. And you definitely get a driver’s license as soon as you’re old enough.
Told in a series of flashbacks, we learn about Ove and how he came to live his beliefs. We see glimpses into his childhood, young adult life, and middle aged comforts. When we’re not flashing back to understand Ove’s reasons for being crabby, we learn that his precious wife has died and he wants nothing more than to be with her. It seems as though the universe has other ideas, because his plans are always foiled in one way or another.
This novel was a welcome break from the outside world. What a great reminder that life is what we make it and we have the power to create our own families, despite other circumstances. Pick this up when you want to renew your faith in humanity.
This was a book club pick at work. Last month we read A Little Life and most of us were ready for something a bit lighter. There are some dark themes that bothered a few people that I’ve chatted with so far, but when you take the story in its entirety,those themes don’t seem so dark.
This was a very easy read. I listened to it on audible and it takes me foooorever to get through an audiobook and this one was no exception (I actually started it months before we picked it for our next read), but it didn’t take long because it was difficult to get through or exceptionally long; I just don’t spend enough time listening to audiobooks! It’s a translated work so I don’t know if the original version was more elegantly written, but it’s very simply written. A person could easily fly through this in a couple of days.
On a more personal note, Ove and my husband are made out of the same stuff. I made him watch the movie and he really enjoyed it. He identified with the young Ove a lot. So now I call him Ove around the house, especially when he’s showing some fixed ideals 🙂