There are two things interesting about this novel. Firstly, the author Fredrik Backman is a blogger who is debuting with this novel. A blogger is never short of stories to tell. They may not be able to weave a coherent story, but there have a lot of exciting episodes. So if you are short of time, the book can be read at your leisure with sufficient breaks without losing the overall plot. Secondly, the Fredrik Backman is from Sweden. I have only seen mystery writers coming from this region. So a fiction and not a crime or thriller caught my attention.
Ove is an old man who is always fighting with the world around him. He is never happy. As the story starts, an interracial couple moves in as his neighbor. When they reverse their trailer, they destroy Ove's flowerbed and overturns the postbox. Ove reluctantly helps the couple, and this act changes Ove forever. In the past, we have encountered many grumpy old men in real life, books, and movies. It is Fredrick Backman narrative style which makes Ove different and intriguing than the ones we know. Fredrik Backman devotes each chapter to tell us about an event in Ove's life. All through the book, he uses non-linear narrative like a seasoned player. He switches between the present and the past. You can never understand a person without knowing his history. Fredrick Backman realizes it. So he describes the present which makes us laugh at the old man's eccentricity. But when he explains the past, our smile dies quickly, and we empathize with the old man. Even after knowing the history, the author still makes us laugh with Ove's escapades in the present. It is quite evident that the author wants us to have a fun filled ride with adequate room for thought and reflection.
The book is translated from his original language. The emphasis is on the narrative and not the style. After reading the book, you are engulfed with a warmth and newfound love for life. There is an explanation for human behavior. Are we ready to let go of our initial reluctance and delve deeper to find out more about people we try to avoid? There are a lot of profound messages in spite of this book being a quick read. There is no time like now to read this book.
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