A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman

I bought this book at the airport and the reviews sounded encouraging. For me, this turned out to be an average book with average story, easy read in the airplane.

Ove is 59 years old, who lost his wife 6 months ago. The day post his “early retirement”, which he is forced into by the managers at his work place, he decides to commit suicide. Everyday, while he is planning for it to be his last day, life keeps interrupting his plans and the decision keeps moving forward by a day. Once he goes so far as to drill a hook in the ceiling and put the noose around his neck, only to have the rope break.

He lost his mother at a young age and father, when he was sixteen. Ove is a solitary person by nature, who loves his wife. “People said Ove saw the world in black and white. but she was colour. All the colour he had.” This story is Ove’s tale of being rescued from solitary existence and untimely death by the neighbours around him. Beneath his hard exterior and gruff manner, there is a gentle kind soul, who would not let people suffer – and would justify it to himself by thinking, that is what his wife would have wanted.

Writing is contemporary, with some humorous segments. I found the book over emotional. I enjoyed reading about Ove – his “nerdy” personality, his inflexibility, his intensity. After initial period of struggle, when Ove finally seemed to be happy with his wife (around half way down the book), it seemed all to go downhill and i started losing interest. It just starts sounding too “movie like” when suddenly everyone around him starts to treat him like a hero and forgets about his rudeness and completely ignores his need for privacy. It is a predictable plot and a fair enough airport read.

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