A Man Called Ove from Swedish author Fredrik Backman.
Ove is the perfect archetype for the word 'curmudgeon'. Everything is Ove's world is black and white, right and wrong. Rules are meant to be followed, signs are meant to be obeyed and Ove will let you know if you don't.
I read the first bit and actually felt quite sad. I didn't want to listen to a litany of complaints. (I have to listen to a few people like this at work - why bring it home?) I just thought this wasn't a book for me. But then I started hearing how much everyone loved it - and the library ordered the audio version - so I thought I would give it another go by listening. And am I ever glad I did!
The story came alive for me with George Newbern's reading. He captured the mental image I had created for Ove, but also gave him a humanity beyond the grousing. Ove's wife Sonia died four years ago and Ove has now decided that life is not worth living - suicide is on his list of things to do that day. Until a new, noisy family moves in next door. Of course they don't know how to back in a trailer. Ove will show them how to do it right. Suicide goes on the list for tomorrow. But then there's one more thing that Ove needs to oversee - and then another....
I can't believe I almost missed this wonderful tale! Backman is a gifted storyteller - I became completely invested in this little corner of the world, cheering on Ove as he rediscovers life - with a side of grumpy. If you liked The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you will enjoy A Man Called Ove. Read an excerpt or listen to an excerpt.