I don’t often recommend books on this blog – and I have to say that my reading lately has been predominantly of the spiritual nature, particularly Paul Selig’s books…
However, on a long plane trip sometimes that spiritual stuff can get a little heavy, so on the trip over to the US I began reading a book called A MAN CALLED OVE, written by Fredrik Backman.
I’d read an article about the book in the New York Times, in which it said the book was the most popular book out of Sweden since the GIRL IN THE DRAGON TATTOO series.
Here is that article:
Unlike the DRAGON TATTOO series though, A MAN CALLED OVE is a gentle and whimsical book about a stoic man who tries to commit suicide after his wife dies. Every time he tries though, life gets in the way and prevents him from doing so.
It’s funny, beautifully written, and very emotional.
It’s been a huge success world wide, and some of you might already be familiar with the book – I always come at these things late! – but for those of you who aren’t aware of it, I can highly recommend it. It would make a great Christmas present too.
Here is an excerpt – about how he met his wife…
A MAN CALLED OVE – written by Fredrik Backman
“She had a golden brooch pinned to her front, in which the sunlight reflected hypnotically through the train window. It was half past six in the morning, Ove had just clocked off his shift and was actually supposed to be taking the train home. But then he saw her on the platform with all her rich auburn hair and her blue eyes and all her effervescent laughter. And he got back on the train.
Of course he didn’t quite know himself why he was doing it. He had never been spontaneous before in his life. But when he saw her it was as if something malfunctioned. He convinced one of the conductors to lend him his spare pair of trousers and shirt, so he didn’t have to look like a train cleaner, and then Ove went to sit by Sonja. It was the single best decision he would ever make.
He didn’t know what he was going to say. But he had hardly had time to sink into the seat before she turned to him cheerfully, smiled warmly and said ‘hello’. And he found he was able to say ‘hello’ back to her without any significant complications. And when she saw that he was looking at the pile of books she had in her lap, she tilted them slightly so he could read their titles. Ove only understood about half the words.
‘You like reading?’ she asked him brightly. Ove shook his head with some insecurity, but it didn’t seem to concern her very much. She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.
He had never heard anything quite as amazing as that voice. She talked as if she was continuously on the verge of breaking into giggles. And when she giggled she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter. He didn’t quite know what he should say to avoid seeming uneducated and stupid, but it proved to be less of a problem than he had thought. She liked talking and Ove liked keeping quiet. Retrospectively, Ove assumed that was what people meant when they said that people were compatible.”