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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

A Man Called Ove

When you think of Swedish fiction, most minds immediately turn to well-known crime authors like Stieg Larsson, Camilla Läckberg or Henning Mankell. But as fans of Pippi Longstocking have always known, great Swedish fiction doesn’t have to be gritty. Take a look at Sweden’s lighter side with this intriguing debut novel.




I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying the audio recording of A Man Called Ove, by Swedish author Fredrik Backman. The narrator does a wonderful job of vocalizing both the gruffness and the humor of the main character. Ove (whose name the narrator also let me know is pronounced Oo-vah) is not a person I initially thought I would sympathize with based on his self-imposed position as the enforcer of all rules, no matter how insignificant. It takes time to realize how life molded Ove into a rigid, rule-following and yet ultimately extremely thoughtful person. Through flashbacks and encounters with his new neighbor Parvaneh and her young family, the listener comes to realize the value of a man who many might initially want to write off due to his abrasiveness. He may not be pleasant, but he is someone you would want in your corner.

-Amy Conerly, Centreville Regional Library

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