Published by Hodder & Stoughton
It is actually quite hard to categorise this book into any kind of genre because it is so different to anything I have read before.There is a dark humour suffusing the whole story and yet it is achingly sad and searingly angry!
I really think this ability to infuse such wry laughs into what is essentially a life story of an ordinary man beset by a disproportionate amount of trauma; is something the Swedes seem to do really well. Am am thinking most particularly of “The Hundred Year Old Man who climbed out of a window”
Ove is a man imbued with a most particular and peculiar set of standards and despite of his initial seemingly curmudgeonly attitudes and his compulsive behaviours (that to an outsider would strike them as decidedly odd) , he is actually really lovable and definitely someone you want in your gang.
The structure of the book at first seems scattered, but once you adjust, it is ingenious! You learn all about Ove and his motivations, each chapter slowly excavating new facets of his life. The book reveals the depth of the sorrows that Ove has to endure and the devotion and true love that has been the foundation of everything he has done.
Ove reveals himself to be kind and selfless and all the bluster and blather is just a smoke screen, even as he contemplates some pretty darn drastic action, his kindness and belief in what is right always wins out.
Ultimately this book is a wonderful exploration of the extents folk will go to in order remain “alone” in an an attempt to avoid the total loneliness felt in a crowd , and also the healing power of family, no matter it’s genetic make up.
You will laugh, you will cry, but you will leave “The residential area” of Ove and the other residents enriched. That is my vow.