A Man Called Ove – Part 4

Well, the cat has moved in and Ove seems to tolerate it, even though he acts like he doesn’t, indeed, the reader begins to suspect that Ove likes the unnamed cat, even though he doesn’t want anyone to know that he does.  The cat rides around with him in the car and pretty much goes wherever Ove goes.

Mr. Beckman has a knack for vibrant and humorous detail, especially in regards to the cat.  In this scene Ove is teaching the pregnant Foreign Lady [Parvaneh] how to drive and they have stopped at a café:

The cat and Parvaneh make themselves at home, the latter mopping sweat from her forehead although it’s ice-cold in there.  Colder than outside in the street, actually.  She pours herself some water from a pitcher on the counter.  The cat unconcernedly laps up some of it from her glass when she isn’t looking.

We discover that Ove has stopped at the café to help fix a bicycle for a young man who is trying to use it to impress a girl.  Parvaneh, who seems to be the first to discover that Ove is not nearly as curmudgeonly as he lets on, points out:

“So me and Ove drove all this way just to give you a bike so you can mend it?  For a girl?”

Adrian nods.  Parvaneh leans over the counter and pats Ove on the arm.

“You know, Ove, sometimes one almost suspects you have a heart…”

This is what the reader slowly begins to understand as Ove’s life and backstory are languidly revealed: Ove has a heart, a huge heart.  It’s hidden behind a fierce, curmudgeonly demeanor, and despite his best efforts to keep it hidden, weird things keep happening to Ove that force him to reveal it.


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