I could spend the entire review talking about how clever the writing is. And I will give you some examples. But something happened in this book that has only happened to me one time before. Wait for it...I actually got enjoyment reading about an animal! Are you shocked? Me too. The only other time that happened to me was Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. In that book, the narrator is a dog. This one is similar because the animal, a cat, is a central character not much different from the humans that populate Ove's neighborhood. Whoops, sorry. I forgot to give you a synopsis of the book. Here it is.
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet, a curmudgeon with staunch principles. strict routines, and a short fuse. People think him bitter, and he thinks himself surrounded by idiots.
Ove's well-ordered, solitary world gets a shake-up one November morning with the appearance of new neighbors, a chatty young couple and their two boisterous daughters, who announce their arrival by accidentally flattening Ove's mailbox with their U-Haul. What follows is a heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unlikely friendships, and a community's unexpected reassessment of the one person they thought they had all figured out.
I promised you some examples of Backman's writing. The 1st one includes one of many scenes with the cat.
1. "Ove stomped forward. The cat stood up. Ove stopped. They stood there measuring up to each other for a few moments, like two potential troublemakers in a small-town bar. Ove considered throwing one of his clogs at it. The cat looked as if it regretted not bringing its own clogs to lob back."
Here are some other great analogies:
2. "The sun is just up; it shines obstinately into his eyes like a child who has just been given a flashlight."
3. "...the train approaching so slowly that it's as if it's being pulled along by two decrepit oxen."
4. Here's another one about the cat: "...the cat is sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. It sports a disgruntled expression, as if Ove owes it money. Ove stares back at it with a suspicion normally reserved for a cat that has rung his doorbell with a Bible it its paws, like a Jehovah's Witness."
I can't list all of the characters that come into Ove's life. But let me say this. There is a great love story in A Man Called Ove. And it's not the kind you typically see. And, as the blurb from the back of the book tries to say, not every seemingly hard-hearted person is actually hard-hearted. You will need to read this book to know what I'm talking about.