Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove is a funny, heart-warming and delightful read, definitely deserving of 5 stars. Fredrik Backman has created a wonderful character in Ove, a grumpy old man who, truth be told, bears a striking resemblance to my father, personality-wise. Like Ove, my father is very much set in his own moody, stubborn ways, although he'd deny it if his manners were ever called into question. Perhaps this is why I connected with the character so much and was entirely charmed by the Swedish male protagonist.

Ove's rude and abrupt manner had me in stitches at times, but you soon learn that he's a very caring and thoughtful person, who is just trying to do his best in life. It was a pleasure reading this book. I recommended it to two of my closest friends, who also thoroughly enjoyed it. The story itself is endearing and just lovely. I found myself hugging my Kindle after I'd finished reading it, it was that good!

I work for a localisation company and spend a lot of time proofreading translations into English. As a native English speaker, I'll often pick up on language that sounds stilted or awkward to my ears and will raise this issue with the translator. I'll offer alternative suggestions, and together we'll agree on a suitable translation that works.

I'd like to commend Henning Koch on his beautiful translation from Swedish into English. Having worked closely with translators for eight years, I've witnessed the painstaking lengths they will go to to ensure that their translation remains faithful to the original text. I can only imagine the number of hours that were poured into this project, but the outcome is wonderful. Koch has ensured that an English-speaking audience will effortlessly fall in love with Backman's story and his unsung hero, Ove, a wonderfully Swedish character.