Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Man Called Ove
When the councilmember comes back the next day with the police, his car is gone (Ove had it towed to a quarry). Ove is doing this to help Rune and also because he remembered how the council tried to take Sonja away from him. Ove actually cries when the council member comes. Finally, he's expressing emotion!
Later, Ove takes up the rifle and tries to kill himself for the sixth and final time, but he is interrupted by the arrival of Adrian, the boy with the bicycle, and Adrian's friend Mirsad. Mirsad likes anal sex with men, but his Dad doesn't approve. So Mirsad wants to live with Ove so he can enjoy anal sex without interruption. Ove, to whom Mirsad is a total stranger, immediately agrees to take him in.Click here to see the rest of this review
This makes absolutely no sense except for the fact that Ove has become like a saint. There should have been a passage in the book where he got up every morning, went to a different person's home each day, and washed their feet. He's simply no longer a realistic character.
Ove gives Parvaneh a gift, the crib that was made for his own aborted child. This shows us that Ove has started to have tender feelings for Parvaneh.
Finally, after warning for the entire book that the council was coming to take Rune away, the council comes to take Rune away. But Rune's neighbors, including Ove, say they will take care of him and Rune gets to stay. See, Ove is caring about his neighbors again! He's become sensitive.
Ove's relationship with Parvaneh and her cuckold husband continue to evolve. Ove comes over for dinner. He plays with the kids. He buys one child the most expensive iPad. Meanwhile Mirsad, the homosexual teenager, continues to live at Ove's house where he has access to other mens' buttocks.
Ove lives four more years. Then he dies. Parvaneh discovers his body. They learn that Ove had 11,000,000 kronars, which made him a multimillionaire, but he never did anything with it. He left the money to Parvaneh. The end.
This book can basically be described as follows:
1) Ove is angry and mean.
2) Ove is depressed because his wife dies and wants to kill himself.
3) Ove makes himself a rent-a-slave to his neighbors.
4) Ove decides to live. He lives 4 more years, as a rent-a-slave to his neighbors. Then he dies.
The story is unsatisfying. Yes, let Ove evolve from a mean character to a nice one. But don't make him a pushover. Don't make him a slave for his neighbors. One doesn't have to go from one extreme to another. He can become nicer without becoming a chump.
Ove needs a reason for living after his wife died. What is a reason to live?
1) Relatives (brothers/sisters/children)
None of this was explored. We are told that Ove developed the will to live again by being the community volunteer for everyone. It just doesn't seem that satisfying. The community--Parvaneh, Adrian, and the others--used Ove, but Ove didn't get anything in return. His reason for living did not seem believable.
Now, if Ove had taken a lover, that would have been a more compelling reason to live. If Ove had reconciled with a long lost child, that would have been another reason. If Ove had a compelling job, that could have been a third reason. But that wasn't what we were presented with.
Ove started as an unsympathetic, mean guy and then became something in between a saint and a fool who let people use him. He lived four more years but what was the point of those four more years, all he did was serve others. It seemed like a hollow remainder of his life, especially after we learned he had millions that he never spent or used for any purpose.
The story had a lot of repetition too. Throughout the entire book we are told, over and over, how the council is coming to take Rune away. I think mentioning it two or three times before it happened would have been more than sufficient. We are repeatedly told how Ove judges people by their cars. We are repeatedly told how orderly he is.
Parvaneh is too contrived as a character. She always seems to be popping into Ove's life like she's his wife. She's not. She has a husband.
The other characters are not well defined. Mirsad likes anal sex. Adrian likes his bicycle. Rune is sick. We don't really get developed characters other than Ove, Sonja, and Parvaneh.
We have no idea why Sonja fell in love with Ove. He seemed semi-autistic, and their romance made no sense. Why would Sonja be attracted to a semi-autistic train cleaner remains a complete mystery.