I want to call this book pure but there are so many sad and important topics discussed in this book that it isn’t that. From the outside, and the little pictures of tools inside, you’d think you could give this book to a twelve-year-old to read but by page fifty the protagonist Ove has tried to kill himself three times.
For that reason, it is very much a tragicomedy — a very realistic one. Each of these suicide attempts fails, usually brought to a halt by something funny. Ove dislikes most people therefore it is only ironic that people keep him in this world.
I’m not sure how to explain the plot of this book. It’s very simple and mundane but also cleverly constructed. It opens with fifty-nine-year-old Ove trying to buy an Ipad which he calls a computer. It is not until the final chapters you find out why he does this. The rest of the book goes back five weeks in time to determine how Ove got to this stage.
The love between an elderly couple is always the most wonderful. Sadly Ove lost his wife but it does explore their past together. Ove never liked anyone but her. He loved her. The most beautiful moment in the book is when Ove builds her a bookshelf despite his complete lack of care for books himself.
The book is translated from Swedish and it depicts the country wonderfully. The snow and sense of community. The only confusion I had was above parking and driving up the street. It seemed they had garages but couldn’t drive on the street — so how did they get the cars in the garage? Maybe I just missed something but I didn’t understand the whole parking thing!
This has been a short review because I can’t think of much to say. I think it is a book you need to read and experience. The words used are mundane and there are no literary techniques. It’s all about the emotions and thoughts the book produces.
So you may think you don’t need to know about A Man Called Ove, but during a time where the older generations may feel alone, this book might make you want to make friends with your elderly neighbour.