Strange, Sad, Hilarious

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Authors who write fiction amaze me with their ability to create characters. Where do they get them? Do they model the people whose stories they tell after real people, someone they know, a relative, themselves, or do they create them from scratch?  I just finished reading a sometimes funny sometimes sad story about a man who is strange indeed. He is a loner, an introvert, as honest as can be, but also secretly loving. His name is Ove, and the story is called A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. It came to me from my book club, and so far I have to say this story is a little unbelievable in the beginning because of the strange and unique habits of Ove. As the plot evolves so did I. Ove dug his way into my mind, and I began to like him. Slowly the humor of his eccentric life began to unfold and his actions are hilarious.

Ove is not the only character in this story that makes it a good read. Author Backman created a cast of misfits from various ethnic backgrounds to be his neighbors in a tight-knit row of houses. Even Ove’s deceased wife is a character who he talks to often during visits to her grave, and by flashing back his memories of her. We learn all about his Sonya, and their marriage through these graveside visits.

Grief is the emotion that plays on Ove’s mind. He is so saddened by his wife’s death that he wants to be with her as soon as he can. Several times he meticulously plans suicide, each time by a different method, but some strange event diverts his mind to something else, and averts his demise. This story has a happy ending but also a sad one which is not predictable

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