I have just finished this book, and I am really glad that I am outside my house, because otherwise I would be bursting out in tears (which really wouldn’t be a bad thing). The review says that it is the most heart warming thing you will read and it really is. I had an issue when starting the book. The plot line was a little slow in the beginning or maybe it was just that my 20s mind was not interested in the life of a grumpy, angry at the world old man.
But then I got to know about the wife, and everything changed. There are very few books that make you feel like there’s warm chocolate melting inside your heart, like it’s snowing outside, and you are snuggled in the warmest blanket. You can see the cold world, but you also are safe because of the blanket. This book is like that blanket. The story is of a man called Ove (naturally), who is nearing the end of his time in the world, physically and psychologically. After the death of his wife, Ove has lost any reason to live in this world, and is trying to kill himself, and meet up with his wife Sonja in the next world. All his attempts to die turn futile when Parvaneh, a 30-year old pregnant woman moves into his neighborhood with her husband and two daughters.
The narration is the most beautiful part of the story. Backman weaves it like threads on a hand loom, slowly, steadily, and with care, and when the pattern arises, you don’t even realize that this was the place you were being led to, and that makes it even more special. The characters in the story are complicated, especially Ove himself, but you fall in love with all of them slowly, and that is I believe the intention of the author – to make them yours slowly, and then all at once (just like John Green said). Sonja, though, is one character you fall in love with instantaneously.
The story oscillates between past and present, and both are equally beautiful to read. Ove’s relationship with everyone, starting from his father, to Parvaneh’s eldest daughter is explored, and you witness how the relationships grow, and along with them Ove grows as you move forward in the story. Sonja, Ove, and Parvaneh’s relationship reminds me so much of Up. In a way it is like Up, but way more, more, more.
Love is a strange thing. It takes you by surprise.
Many, many times this book took me by surprise, not only because of everything in it – the story, the characters, their emotions, but also because of how I was feeling and responding to it. I had tears (both happy and sad) so many times throughout the book. It is a beautiful book, talking about a way of life that is not there anymore. In all honesty, you might not be able to live in a world where every person was like Ove, but trust me, you cannot live in a world either where there not at least some people like Ove.
I realized that it is a fairly less known book (after its initial success), mostly because it’s originally written in Swedish (I just realized if the translation is this good, how awesome would the original be), but it is definitely worth everyone’s time and money, especially in the times that we are living in. This book brightened my days, and I am fairly sure it will brighten your days too if you give it a chance.