From A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman.
My wife bought me this on a whim during a trip to Vermont, and it quickly became one my favorite books that I read this year. I’m a bit of a curmedgeon-y old man in many ways, but this book is about the curmudgeons in all of us.
It has a Jonathan Safran Foer-like sense of humor without the heavy-handed sadness that comes with a Foer book. Sure, it’s sad–it’s about a man’s life and how he interacts with his neighbors which often results in old man cranky hilarity. Though, honestly, it’s more about how we choose to let that sadness define us rather than wallow in it. And while Ove wallows in it, eventually he comes out of it by way of the love of his neighbors. Who are hilarious people.
I liked it alot. You should check it out. Here are some highlights:
There are his observations of his neighbors.
Tottering around the streets like an inebrirated panda on heels as long as box wrenches, with clown paint all over her face and sunglasses so big that one can’t tell whether they’re a pair of glasses or some kind of helmet.
Sharp as a sawblade one-liners:
Like a bolt of lightning up your urethra.
Commentary on cars, because Ove is a dedicated Saab driver. Here’s what he had to say about an Audi:
It has those wave shaped headlights, Ove notes, presumably designed that no one at night will be able to avoid the insight that here comes a car driven by an utter shit.
And then total tenderness, a tenderness that made me appreciate the small little tender moments between my wife and I. This sold me on the book forever:
He put her in the bed, and then, just before they went to sleep, she turned to him, slid her finger in the palm of his hand. Burrowed her nose under his collarbone.
Really my favorite passage is the one pictured–in which he supports (in a completely complementary way) his Iranian neighbor.