Chances are you have either already read this book for your book club or you have heard about it from a neighbor or friend. It was a customer who told me about it and said it was one of the best books she had ever read. I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve got to read this book’. If you haven’t, you should. The book is witty, sad, sweet, and philosophical.
Set in suburban Sweden, poor Ove (pronounced ‘ooo-va’) is having difficulty adjusting to the death of his wife, and then the loss of his job. Trying to find his place in society again, he decides killing himself would simply be easier. As he progresses to planning this new task Ove is met by obstacles aplenty in the form of pregnant women, little girls, inept homeowners and bike repairers, and one lone, mangled cat, all of whom distract him from his purpose.
How would you feel if the woman you loved, who was your whole world, left you alone with idiotic people of no consequence? If you are Ove, you just want to leave, but you have to do it correctly: wear the right suit; or if you decide against hanging and decide on a rifle blast, then just wear your underwear; lay down plastic sheeting so the emergency squad wont track mud all over the living room floor; cancel your phone and your paper; and try, seriously try, not to answer the door because everyone wants something from you.
The first time I began this book, I put it down. The second time, once I got past Ove’s anger and gruffness, I was able to see him the way his neighbors do: a man who needs to give life another try. A Man Called Ove is not maudlin, but sweet and moving. It left me feeling satisfied, and yet bereft when I turned the last page. I will miss Ove and the characters in this book. Of course, I can always visit again…
Reviewed by Leigh