The New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here offers an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him—even as they must find a way to let go.“Isn’t that the best of all life’s ages, an old man thinks as he looks at his grandchild, when a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it.” Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa’s work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden. As they wait together on the bench, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her. Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father—Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond. Grandpa, Grandma, Ted, and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, the scent of hyacinths in the air, nothing to fear. This little book with a big message is certain to be treasured for generations to come.
It is always interesting to me to hear the answers given by authors when they are asked questions such as........how did you know you wanted to be a writer or author, or how do you begin to construct a new novel? There are many who try their hand at writing, but very few actually become successful authors. Swedish author, Fredrik Backman made a huge leap in changing careers when he became an author after earning a living as a fork lift driver. The two do not appear compatible, but having a blue collar job probably added a degree of realism to the books written by Backman.
Backman is a solid story teller, but does not consider himself to be a good technical writer. He gives credit to his wife and to his publisher and editors for assisting in that department. But, it is the storyline that sells books, not technical writing skills, and Backman has had much success along those lines. His books such as, A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here are published in many different countries, and several different languages. There seems to be a true, honest, humorous tone to each of his books.
Backman has a very easy way of structuring his novels, usually setting the beginning and the ending first, then he is free to fill in the middle with his storytelling ability. For example, Britt-Marie Was Here became a separate novel after she was a seven year old character in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. As he completed that book, he said that it seemed only natural to him that Britt-Marie have her own book. The book follows her as she goes on a quest, gets challenged, meets new friends, overcomes adversity, stands up to injustice, all to eventually learn important facts about herself. He says that writing about this character is like writing about hero types, minus the swords, lasers, and fire-breathing dragons. It is a very interesting way of explaining his concept.
In his newest book, the emphasis will be on ice hockey, for as he says.....I am Swedish, and that's what we do. It will be about a town....not one specific character......and ice hockey will be the center of the story. He says that is all he has as an idea about the book at this point. He sums up his future in writing in this way........ I plan to write until people tell me I can't anymore.