I don’t have many references to compare. But I can say with all my heart that “A man called OVE” is probably the best I’ve ever read, with still about 60% of the book to complete. As mentioned on my previous post about this book, would take as much time as possible to read it and I am sure would probably read it a lot more times even after I’ve finished reading it, for it has not just impressed the hell out of me, but every time I open that book to read, I simply lose track of all that happen around and start to follow Ove on his daily routine. If there is a list of impossible things to do, "not liking Ove" would probably top the list. Just realized while commenting about the book that OVE is one letter short for LOVE. So much for my takku regarding this.
As the story grows on, what I’ve read till now is about the life of a stubborn old man, OVE, who is a loner and is a stickler for rules. He hates interacting with people especially those who has no respect for rules and doesn’t trust anyone else to do his job. More than lack of trust on others, he trusts his abilities to do things the “old way”. He never needs any “handy men” for doing his minor jobs nor does he favors fancy new foreign items but prefers to go the manual, tried and tested method even though its laborious and physically demanding. He literally hates people who are dependent on others for doing trivial things (read craft work to support daily life). He tries to commit suicide (till now thrice)and fails each time because of interference from his neighbors, who, despite knowing his nature, had to reach out to him for help. The reason why he attempts to end his life and is hell bent on it, is explained as a poignant love story and the story starts to crisscross between his past and present.
There are some heartwarming punchlines/quotes in the book. There were many but the most recent of the lot and my current favorite is “But if anyone had asked, he would have told them that he never lived before he met her. And not after either” The first part of the sentence makes an appearance when Ove meets his would be wife for the first time and the above sentence, when she dies at the hospital. Probably it sounds clichéd and not a ground breaking original scene worth this hype. But when you travel through the story with Ove, you will feel for his loss and would even realize the reason for his repeated attempts at suicide and even empathize with him. The prior to this quote favorite of mine was “Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say”. Had it been a movie scene, you would’ve stood up and applauded your favorite hero, pirouetting in slow motion with BGM blasting away to glory. But not for Ove. It would be dead silence with hardly a twitch and you would see him kick some table slowly a bit and would walk back with his spine straight, as would’ve been his father. The respect he carries for his father, the unquestionable unflinching belief on the belief system laid out by his father, who never asks his son to follow but sets an example are heartwarming. You simply cannot have a dad-son bonding better explained ever in words. Reminds of a scene from Pursuit of Happyness movie. But unlike Wil Ove’s dad would never cry I guess.
The best part about the novel, till now, is that there is clear and solid explanation behind every single “quirk” of Ove. The reason why he became atheist, unable to justify the act of god in taking away his mom from him, the reason why he wouldn’t tell on others, the reason how he got his hands-on knowledge on all that he is made of. There is an unconditional endearment charm sprinkled lavishly all throughout the chapters that makes you fall in love with even those characters that Ove despises and eventually makes peace with.
With eagerness of a kid awaiting to open his birthday gift, I proceed to the remaining chapters. This book, is definitely one of the best things that happened in 2016.