Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is filled with many conundrums.  First how is the man’s name pronounced? Is it Ove as in “love” and “dove”? Or is it Ove as in “stove” and “drove”? Or is it Ove as in the Yiddish “Oy Vey”? The Yiddish is closest for me since the character in this book is the Yiddish definition, “expressing dismay or exasperation.” Ove exasperates everyone with his ways. When others encounter Ove, they become dismayed with him. He dismays and exasperates himself throughout the novel as he fails to commit suicide on many occasions.
Secondly, this is a Swedish novel and follows closely a Swedish tone of dismay and exasperation. Consider the Swedish detective Kurt Wallander and we have Ove. Ruminate over the Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman’s work. Even little brother Norway produced The Scream. This novel fits in well with these three; they are cut from the same cloth.
The final conundrum is the man himself and his actions. “Instead they had parked here and walked all around the block looking for the café. Because Ove, as Parvaneh had soon realized, was the sort of man who, when he was not quite certain where he was going, just carried on walking straight ahead, convinced that the road would eventually fall into line. And now when they find that the café is directly opposite the spot where they parked, Ove looked as if this was his plan all along.” Ove is a man of principles. He will not pay an extra krona when he doesn’t believe he should and will forgo something or make his life harder. He never ever breaks the law or social more. As we watch all of his interactions with others, our only reaction is “Oy Vey.”
The man called Ove is a curmudgeon. The irony of his life is that he has a big heart, both literally and figuratively. His wife, Sonja, shows him this, much to his own dismay. Even his new neighbor, Parvaneh, provides reasons for Ove to display his big heart in the face of his persistence to be the curmudgeon. He is a man who wants to die and can’t take his own life because he has things to do for others.
This is a very satisfying and reflective read.

No comments: