“Loving someone is like moving into a house. At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake has been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of its perfection, but rather for its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it’s cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without them creaking. There are the little secrets that make it your home.”
When I saw A Man Called Ove on the list for my new book club, I was a little concerned. It was not a book I had heard of, which is rare because I’m obsessive about book lists and reviews. And when I started asking around, no one else had heard about it either.
But then I started reading this very simple, Swedish novel. Fredrick Backman has written a masterpiece of a man’s life. This is not a epic, or a fantasy. This is not even a “Save the World” kind of story. But Ove will quickly become your hero. This is the story of a grumpy, lonely old man who just wants to die. He even has a plan. Multiple ones. And the universe is absolutely against him.
This is a story about love. And organization. And how love completely tears organization apart in a beautiful, magical way. How love adds color into a life that is black and white.
You absolutely want to read this book. I already want to reread it. The emotions in this story are very real, even as simple as it is. Everything is just so relatable and human.
From looking at Goodreads, it doesn’t look like any other of Backman’s works are translated into English, but I really hope they are soon! I would love to read more of his writing.