Kishore Karanam archive  

A Man Called Ove: A Feel Good Black Comedy

April 10, 2020.


When I heard about a man called Ove I thought it’d be some boring story about an old man and his principles and whatnot. But as I’ve seen it recommended more and more under the genre humor, I thought I would give it a try and I’m glad I did. When it comes to the plot it’s quite simple as written in good reads “A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.” Though it sounds like a normal plot it isn’t.

When Ove was eight, his mother died, so he began to work at the railway with his father. Ove was 16 when his father died and left him with his house and the Saab. After that Ove quits school to take his father’s job at the railway. It’s Sonja who turns his life around the first time. Sweet and lively Sonja marries Ove and balances his pessimism with optimism and warmth.

"Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

By the age of 59, he’s yet again in a place of despair. It’s a woman who turns him around the second time. Parvaneh, an Iranian pregnant woman, who moved into the house next door with her husband and two children. She forces Ove to engage with the world.

"One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead.”

The parts where Ove has rough situations and the way he overcomes those are extremely well written by Fredrick. The way he shows how tough Ove is from a young age all alone and how his life changes into a happy one from the moment he met Sonja is just too good. The love track of Sonja and Ove is also too good and the fact that they both are extremely different from each other and how Ove changes for her is terrific.

“But if anyone had asked, he would have told them that he never lived before he met her. And not after either.”

The character Parvaneh in his present life and the parts where her family runs into Ove is very comically written at the same time how a stranger like her impacts his life and the way Ove starts living again because of her are very deep and beautifully written.

The beauty of this book is the way we see the lead character grow from a hard-working young boy to a grumpy-natured old man. I liked the way the author narrated the past and present in alternative chapters giving us insight into Ove’s life more and more. The way Ove’s childhood is portrayed is the best part of the entire book.