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Book Review: A Man Called OVE by Fredrik Backman

Orphanhood brings a queer sense of loneliness and sadness in life. Especially if someone has been rendered Orphan at a tender age like teenage or primary school days, for sure they never plaster a fake smile in their faces to cope up with the fakeness of the world. The person, who becomes orphan, changes forever for himself as well as for the world. But who cares for these secluded souls: neither the person himself nor the world? Life goes on… The novel ‘A Man Called OVE’ delves into the life of one such old man who has become ‘the bitter neighbor from the hell’ for others. Well, behind this change there must be some sadness and tragedy.

Well, the characterization of Ove by the author is such that it may leave many wondering whether such a person truly exists in this world. To many, Ove may sound the crabby old man, though he is, but as the Story advances, readers are bound to change their opinions. As its then that one goes in to depth, to weigh all pros and cons of why he is like that. More so, considering the lonely childhood he’d spent, one can relate to the character completely. “It’s a strange thing, becoming an orphan at sixteen. To lose your family long before you’ve had time to create your own to replace it. It’s very specific sort of loneliness”.

Looking back at his roots, then it is a story of a boy, who turns out to be a quiet man much before he reaches adulthood, after losing both parents, his mother when still a little child and Father at sixteen. He fondly remembers and loved her singing in spite of hoarse voice and jarring notes. He was in love  his father, not only for his strength seeing him wearing down a group of men who challenged him for an arm-twisting wrestling but also his highly ethical values and dedication towards his job.

His antics right from childhood with man, machines and morals make him independent, robust and responsible, seeking perfection in whatever he undertakes to do. Besides, he becomes quiet and sulky, as one tends to miss strangest things on loss of someone, including a smile. This leads him being rigid, prioritizing things and doing them in the manner he feels right and expecting others to fall in his line of boundary of right.

From here on starts his arduous journey. The first blow he faces is on losing his job for sticking to his principles. Taking it as a shame and disgrace to the family, as his father had devoted his entire life to it, he becomes all the more reticent. Whereas others start thinking of him as irritating, he starts feeling: Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say. His meeting with Sonja becomes silver lining of his life, she being the strong anchor that adds colour to his life, contradicting to what people thought that Ove saw the world in black and white.

The book then talks of further events in Ove’s life, his love and loyalty to Saab, his belief in strong and fair play in life, his relations with Anita, Rune, and Adrian. Above all, the friendly neighbor Parvaneh to whom indeed goes the credit to see the change one feels in Ove. Hence, though the culmination may surprise many, yet one can’t help but to see through the tough exterior that Ove had all along portrayed, a different soul that emerges and finally reaffirms that at the end, one is at peace when one’s intentions are good and heart pure. An amazing story about the effects that orphanhood could bring to one’s life.

This post first appeared on Kevein Books And Reviews, please read the originial post: here

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Book Review: A Man Called OVE by Fredrik Backman


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