Tag Archives: Fredrik Backman

‘Bear Town’ by Fredrik Backman

After thoroughly enjoying A Man Called Ove (both book and movie) I was curious about how other books by the same author would be. Bear Town is a beautifully written story about a small town that is absolutely consumed by hockey. Everything and everyone is affected, even those who don’t play, and it is a very serious business–not just a game. It may be all about winning, but it is also about moral choices, love, loyalty and the strength and fragility of the human spirit. Though a bit slow in pace at times, Backman’s character development is excellent and the writing top-notch. The opening line is breathtaking and haunts the whole reading of the book. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

All the hopes and dreams of the town rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys when the junior hockey team makes it to the national championships. The semi-final match is a catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. This is a very different novel than Ove which speaks well for the author whose skill as a writer is multi-faceted.

‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman

a-man-called-ovestarstarstarstarstarFull marks for this translation from Sweden. It’s a hilarious life affirming and heartbreaking story much like Olive Kitteridge or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It seems that Ove (rhymes with groove with a ‘uh’ sound afterwards [oo-vuh]–see pronunciation video below) is a nasty, grumpy old man but he also has a great capacity for love. People are not always what they seem and if they behave in a certain way, there may well be a very good reason for that. This does not excuse bad behaviour but it does remind us to show grace and not make assumptions about people too quickly. Ove-rarching themes in the novel (sorry, couldn’t resist) are that love and loss are the stuff of life and community is key. Looking forward to more by this author! There is a film adaptation in Swedish with English subtitles, which I haven’t seen, but hope to find.