"You will like it!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes! Just read it!"
My brother and I don't always share the same taste in books. He doesn't mind sad endings, dark humor, mob war, world war, and, yep, war in general. My preference -- near obsession -- with happy endings can limit my book choices when I allow and I usually do. But he was sure that I would enjoy "Ove," and he was right! I'm not the only one, of course. Written by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish columnist, blogger, and writer, and translated by Henning Koch, it has received well over 4,000 very good reviews on Amazon alone.
It is the story of a widower who only wants to kill himself and how other people, relationships, life, keep interrupting his plans. It's a poignant, masterfully-conveyed reminder of how we all need each other. There are heartbreaking moments, heartwarming moments, and comical, laugh-out-loud incidences. Ove is a man to be reckoned with and his new neighbor Parvaneh is up for it. There are also clogs in the story, which I found rather cool, for the story is set in Sweden. But A Man Called Ove could be placed anywhere; it Is the definition of timeless, universal wisdom and appeal.
Not only has the book been translated into over 30 languages, its characters present an insightful, sweet, truly funny cultural mash. From what I've noticed, Backman's books all seem to emphasize our human need for love, interaction, each other. It's a theme I'm very partial to.
Just read it.
Surely, the past, present, and future connect in this miraculous state we call life. In this light, history and all human experience are ever-present. Wouldn't it be nice, then, if we could enjoy each other, if we could appreciate and celebrate our differences? Let us love! Let us have fun. Let us toast each other and wish each other well. Now, in our awareness, is the time to be happy, to do our best, to live fully to our purest, highest standards.