LitPicks Book Reviews—August 2014

Theme—Grumpy Old Men
Three books in which older men have reached the age where more of life lies behind than ahead of them. Still, maybe it's not too late to start living large.
 
Labels: A Lighter Touch

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A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman, 2012 (Engl., 2014)
352 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2014

Ove is a 59-year-old misanthrope. He's ornery, overbearing, and hard to like. But we keep reading because Fredrik Bachman keeps us laughing—and because there's a bit of truth in Ove's rants...and a bit of each of us in his self-righteousness.

But Ove is done with life—all he wants to do is end his part in it. How hard can this be? Very hard, apparently, especially if you're beset with neighbors who interrupt you at the most inopportune moments, like when you're trying to hang yourself.

 

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce, 2012
384 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2014
Fictional journeys serve as more than plot devices to move characters from place to place. They represent life passages—from sin to redemption or ignorance to knowledge. Harold Fry's journey is all that and more...but of course he doesn't know it.

In fact Harold doesn't mean to set out on a journey, at first: he simply intends to drop a letter off at the nearest postbox. But then he just keeps going.

 

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson, 2009 (Eng. transl., 2012)
400 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August, 2014

In this whimsical, even farcical novel, Allan Karlsson crawls out the window of the Old Folks Home and lands in a bed of pansies. He's wearing bedroom slippers, and he's on the run—all to avoid his 100th birthday party.

The book follows Allan, one serendipitous adventure at a time. With luck and guile, he manages to evade his captors, inevitably landing on his feet—though, by now, his feet have left the bedroom slippers for a pair of shoes...shoes belonging to one of the men Allan has killed (sort of killed).

 

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