Monday, October 23, 2017

Britt-Marie

It's amazing to me how translations can be popular.  I always thought a lot was lost in the translation.  But Fredrik Backman's novels are very successful here.  He writes in Sweedish.  I've read three of his novels: A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, and a sequel to My Grandmother...., Britt-Marie was Here.  I just finish Britt-Marie.

All of Backman's novels begin with an odd, grouchy character.  I would never continue reading except that these books were all picks from Argonauta, my book club.  So I push myself -- to a certain extent.  But there were times I just gave up and announced at the club that I just couldn't get into it.  Not so with Backman.  I reach a point that I'm hooked.  And then I can't put the book down.  It happened just like that with Britt-Marie was Here.

She's a weirdo.  I guess you could say she was obsessive compulsive. She cleans compulsively (I need someone like her.)  Her husband cheats and they split.  Britt-Marie goes to an employment agency because she's been a housewife and really has no marketable employment skills.  She ends up managing a recreation center.  It turns out that the center is essentially closed and is located in a sleepy (and that's a kind description) little village.  Hardly anyone lives there except losers (modern society definition of people who aren't employed gainfully).

Each character is odder than the other.  Somehow Britt-Marie ends up being a soccer coach even though she knows nothing about the game.  She is assisted by a blind person.  Britt-Marie learns.  I learned.  All readers will learn not only about soccer, but the thrill of the game.

The husband comes back.  It just maybe too late for him because there's a policeman in the town that has taken a shine to Britt-Marie.  Everyone ends up liking Britt-Marie, especially the reader.

Good book.

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