One of the most talked about books in Sweden in 2012 was “En man som heter Ove” (“A man called Ove”) by Fredrik Backman. Fredrik did the unusual thing to debut with two books at the same time, his other book was called “Saker min son behöver veta om världen” (“Things My Son Needs To Know About Life”). Earlier this month his third book, “Min mormor hälsar och säger förlåt” (no english title yet, translates to roughly “My grandmother send greetings and say she is sorry”) was released.
“A man called Ove” have been sold to 25 countries for translation (the English version is scheduled for 2014), and a movie adaptation is in the works in Sweden, with a release planned for 2014/2015. The book has sold over 500,000 copies in Sweden (a country of 9 million people).
Ove is 59 years old. He drives a Saab, and he have done that his whole life. “What would it look like if people switched car make all the time”, he says. He is the archetype of the old school, responsible Swede, who works hard, pays his taxes, and follows the rules.
When the book starts, Ove has lost his job as an engineer, due to his age. He was also ousted from the home owners association, in what he calls “the coup d’etat”. He still walks the neighborhood every morning, making note about any car parked more than the allowed 24 hours in the guest parking spots, kicking the sign posts to make sure they are sturdy and won’t fall on people, etc.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but this is a really good book. It makes you think, and the twist and turns keep you on your feet. If it has been released in your country, I recommend getting a copy of the book. If you live in the UK or US, you unfortunately have to wait until next year to read this very humoristic book.
Disclaimer: I got the copy of the book directly from the author. It was not given to me with for review purposes, but as a personal gift. I have purchased other copies as gifts for family and friends, though.
I have just finished this book – and I absolutely adored Ove. We’ve got it coming out July in Australia, and I really think people are going to love it. I can’t wait to be able to talk to everyone about it!
Me and my boyfriend just finished this book as a audio book yesterday, in Swedish. I think this might end up as my favorite book of the year. I’m unsure of if all aspects of this books really is translatable, bu it will surely be a good read either way. “the coup d’etat” for example sounds like a to fancy word for Ove, the Swedish word “stadskuppen” is just a direct translation but has a much more Ove feel to it.
Give this book a try.