Just returned from Kamloops and visiting with Reissa and Dale. Great and exciting time.
First Book: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is a hilarious and often poignant novel about a man who has recently lost his wife and has been forcibly retired from a job he has held for more than 30 years. Ove, the title character, is somewhat of a perfectionist and a stickler for rules. He might also suffer from a bit of OCD. But he is definitely a “grumpy old man” who holds no truck with the modern world and really doesn’t understand it. Over the course of the novel, Ove begins to unwind a bit and the reader comes to understand and really love him. He learns patience and empathy and how to continue living. This is a wonderful novel. (Translated from Swedish by Henning Roch.)
Second Book: Serial Monogamy by Kate Taylor. Sharon, the main narrator, is a successful writer, a wife and mother of young twin girls. She has recently been commissioned by the Toronto Telegram to write a serial novel on the bi-centennial of the birth of Charles Dickens. The story within the story is mainly about Nelly Ternan, Dickens’ mistress for the last decade or so of his life. Each instalment is dated. At the same time as Sharon is writing, she has discovered her husband is having an affair with a doctoral student of his (he’s a Dickens scholar and lit. professor at the U. of T. He moves out only to return to Sharon and the twin girls when Sharon is diagnosed with breast cancer. The two stories are parallels. Taylor has researched Dickens’ life thoroughly and written about cancer without being cloyingly melodramatic. “It is what it is.” But the book is a excellent examination of a marriage that is both strong and weak at the same time.