think I’ve already got one of my “Books of the year” for 2018, even through my current read, Reamde, is pretty good too. This one was so wonderful that I was tearing up (and dabbing at my eyes with paper napkins) while reading in the beanhouse with my wife.
So Ove is about a “man called”, a quiet fellow from an odd family (with a loving yet distant father, to whom Ove picks up a number of idiosyncrasies (being silent, being observant, being judgmental, and being a cranky old coot)). Ove has just been marginalized (i.e. downsized (i.e. fired)) from the job he’s had for decades. And as you read further, you realize that this is just the latest in a string of horrible life events for the man. But that doesn’t explain why Ove is Ove. He’s just… Ove.
His life has been solitary and angry and cold for years. He doesn’t respond to others well, not the obese kid next door, not the crazy pregnant Iranian woman across the street, not even to Cat Annoyance, the feline that skulks around his property (and, to Ove’s annoyance, doesn’t respect his ownership of said). But that’s fine. Ove can keep these others at bay until he’s decided just how he’ll conclude his life (which is no longer worth living).
These other people, these cats, this world, just need to respect his privacy and stay clear.
And, of course, they don’t.
And as this wonderful story unfolds, we find out more and more about the people around Ove, and about him. And suddenly, in this barren frosted ground, humanity begins to blossom. Idiosyncrasies become blessings, interruptions become miracles. And, beyond any expectation from the opener, the world becomes a far better place for having this angry, short-tempered old man in it.
It was a wonderful book. The tale unfolds like a beautiful flower. I can’t say enough good about it here.