Fredrik Backman has created a unique brand, with his own genre and collection of quirky humorous characters, with light-hearted, and deeply moving stories.
It all started with the sensational debut, A MAN CALLED OVE, (pronounced OO-va), now a film, recently released in the US, featured in the latest Oct 2016, New York Times article . What an inspiring story!
I read the author's latest this weekend, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer his first novella and was hooked! (My favorite Novella of 2016, and my favorite of his books, thus far). I actually have read and reread it several times. It will touch your heart. As usual, I tend to start with the latest release and work my way backward.
Immediately, following the novella, quickly completed a Backman backlist "binge" weekend read; listening to all his books via audio to catch up. Currently reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Will be catching up with reviews.
Each story is unique, deeply moving, and comes with big important life message. All of Backman’s stories are about real people, in different turning points of their lives, most alone and starting over. However, they find a new way to approach life and look differently at those around them.
Featured in A MAN CALLED OVE, is a grumpy miserable man, age 59. He loves his Saab, and of course, knows nothing about computers or technology. He is very rigid and wants everyone to follow his rules. He does not like change.
His wife, Sonia died earlier and she was the only one who could keep him in line. (A beautiful back story). Life is not worth living without his soul-mate and wants to join her in the afterworld. He misses her. He talks to her constantly.
However, a young couple and their children move in next door, plus all sorts of tragic news, including his oldest friend going to a nursing home.
His suicide plans have to take a back seat while dealing with one conflict after another. He is set in his ways and wants things his way. From turning off his radiators, canceling his newspaper subscription and even went so far as to anchor a hook into the ceiling to hang himself.
But he keeps getting interrupted by his clueless, prying neighbors. He strikes up a friendship with an Iranian immigrant and her two young daughters, who find Ove’s grumpiness endearing. However, underneath this rough exterior, the man is quite generous, with a heart of gold.
If you are in the US, some may see some similarities with (2008) Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” character, Walt. Both leading men; grumpy widowers, retired; very rigid, leading a solitary life, miserable lives. Both wives have recently died. They do not fit in today’s world. They despise their neighbors. They both love their cars (Eastwood, 1972 Gran Torino).
However, in the end, both leading men, develop unlikely friendships, and they take their neighbors under their wing and become the hero in the end. (Of course, A Man Called Ove, lacks all the violence, included in Grand Torino, and the storylines are totally different). However, fun parallels; to see the hardest of men turn soft in a positive, admirable way.
Highly recommend the Swedish blogger’s endearing, charming entire book collection. Can’t wait to see what comes next. (Love the branding, and covers).
Can you believe, this is four years later, “A Man Called Ove” has sold more than 2.8 million copies worldwide, making the book one of Sweden’s most popular literary exports since Stieg Larsson’s thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
“Ove” became a blockbuster in Sweden, selling more than 840,000 copies. It was adapted into a successful stage production and an award-winning Swedish feature film, which recently opened in the US. In the US, the book landed on the bestseller list for 18 months. After first published and has remained for 42 weeks! Reprinted 40 times and has sold more than a million copies in print.”
This recent post by Writer Ilana sums up Backman’s writing perfectly: The Magic of Fredrik Backman"
“In his writing, Backman demonstrates a sense of positivity in the world, even while describing desperate circumstances. He covers up horror with humor but allows sadness and pain to have their time on the page as well, once his characters have developed enough of a closeness with each other to be able to experience it together. There is a kind of central thesis to his books in this: pain is something to be shared, something that is far harder to deal with alone and that is often pushed down or ignored or dealt with matter-of-factly when one doesn’t have a support network.”
Well said! Atria definitely has discovered an award-winning much loved Scandinavian Star (the US has embraced). What a success!! "He Wins Hearts on the Page and Now on the Screen!" Movie Trailer
Reading Group Guide.
An ideal book club pick.
The narrator, George Newbern (audiobook) delivered a captivating performance.