Fredrik Backman | Fiction
I wonder why people in my life who love me keep suggesting books about death, such as On My Own and Saturday Night Widows and movies such as Always and Heaven Can Wait. I don’t quite understand – are they supposed to normalize my experience? Make me feel as though I am not alone? Do they figure I will find these pieces interesting, now that I have an experience along the same lines? I don’t know. I know they are well-meaning. But mostly I find them incredibly sad and nearly impossible to read or watch.
A Man Called Ove is the notable exception. While it did incite my tears a number of times, I also laughed and found myself with a warmed heart. It is difficult for me to describe A Man Called Ove. Basically, it is about a man’s experience after his wife dies. But that is such an understatement. It is much cleverer than that. First of all, we all thought Beryl was a curmudgeon. He talked about writing a blog he was going to call “The Curmudgeon’s Rant.” In fact, he tried out a few on his family members! Well, it seems he was a baby-curmudgeon-in-training. Ove is the REAL curmudgeon! You will laugh at how curmudgeonly he is! (How can that be funny?) He is such an interesting character, you will want to discover what makes him tick. Without giving the plot away completely, I will say the book often reminded me of my favorite all-time movie, Harold and Maude. But with very different intentions.
I think it takes real talent to write in a way that makes the reader laugh or giggle. Fredrick Backman is that talented. Oh yes, also, I want to share a few of his colorful sentences: "She laughed and laughed and laughed until the vowels were rolling across the walls and floors.” (pp 288/9) And this one: “Jimmy is perspiring like a bit of pork left on a sauna stove.” (pp 236) HUH? I don’t understand either of these sentences, but how visual they are and what fun to roll them around my mind!
Despite the underlying sadness of the story line, this is a warm, comical, interesting - even fascinating - book. Enjoy!