Saturday, December 3, 2016
Why A Man Called Ove is such a success
Yes, I get it, over the course of A Man Called Ove we are expected to come to like him more, as we learn more about the misfortunes of his life and how he overcame them and how we watch him grow into a many who can work together with his neighbors to avert some sort of societal injustice or disaster - all well and good and will probably make a very cute, feel-good movie (even in my discomfort w/ this novel I flagged many funny passages and scenes, all of which I think would work even better on screen), but I honestly don't buy into it - the feel-good narration is too manipulative, not an organic or likely course of character development (by coincidence, contrast this w/ the character development of the Casey Afleck character in the recent and much darker Manchester by the Sea, who also suffers loss by fire and becomes an isolate, mean drunk, difficult character but who grows in ways that are surprising, significant, yet not sentimental or superimposed for dramatic effect of happy resolution). Yes, people can grow and change - but they can also be narrow-minded bigots or (and) staunch believers in the power of the individual and distrustful of any action for the social good (Ayn Rand, DH Lawrence, others come to mind?) and the transition from one to the other is rare at best. I can understand the success of A Man Called Ove as it brings a message so many would like to hear and embrace. But is it real? Or thin air?