Book with a Great Cover: A Man Called Ove

For the reading challenge category “a book with a great cover” I read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

A Man Called Ove is written by a Swedish author, hence the unfamiliar name of the main character – the back of the book makes “Ove” rhyme with “love,” so that was how I read it, though, apparently, the audiobook and the appropriate Swedish pronunciation is “Oovah.” It is the story of the neighborhood curmudgeon who thinks he’s the only one that knows how to do anything useful in a world that’s gone to rot. Everyone else is too busy staring at screens and disregarding responsibilities and rules, and Ove wants nothing to do with them. Backman creates wonderful characters that I grew very attached to while he explores the questions of what in life is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? Backman is a Swedish author who wrote in English and every now and then his syntax and diction are just a bit off, but not enough to jar the flow of the novel. It is also possible that he used some European phrases I’m just not familiar with. Reading Ove’s sour attitude about everyone around him helped me realize my own curmudgeonly tendencies, as well as develop an empathy for the hidden history of individuals and why we should give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot because Backman’s pacing and unfolding of the story is very well done to draw the reader deeper and deeper in. I will say he explores some darker themes without getting too depressing or making those themes seem trivial. It is an engaging, fast-paced story that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

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