Saturday, 28 October 2017

#35 A book translated from another language


Britt-Marie Was Here  - Fredrik Backman


Britt-Marie is 63, and when first meet her, she is trying to get a job because she is afraid no one will notice if she were to die – one can immediately feel her isolation and loneliness. But the author is Fredrik Backman ( whose A Man Called Ove  was lovingly reviewed by me a few months earlier) , and his trademark dark humour penetrates this tale too as we begin on a whole new leg of life with Britt-Marie.

His characters are all lonely, eccentric, and meticulous in their fixed routines of everyday life. Justs like Ove, I found Britt-Marie to be a quirky but extremely lovable character.

“Some people don’t understand the value of lists, but Britt-Marie is not one of those people. She has so many lists that she has to keep a separate list to list all the lists.”

Having lived the past forty years of her life looking after the house, and an ungrateful husband, she is now at liberty to do what she wants. But at her age, with absolutely no qualification or experience what can be expected?

With a little help, Britt-Marie lands up in a town called Borg, where everything is being closed down – a place in the middle of nowhere. However, within a few pages we will meet one of the greatest set of oddball characters who all have a story to tell, who all come together in some way or the other to bring meaning and purpose in Britt-Marie’s life.  

If there is one thing that dominates the lives of the people of Borg , that would have to be football. And before she knows, Britt-Marie, who had hitherto absolutely no interest in football becomes the football coach to the children’s team. Well…no matter how much you think your life is going to turn out, it will have a lot of surprises for you, that’s for sure. For football aficionados there are these wonderful titbits on certain football teams and also this marvelous and insightful quote:

“You love football because its instinctive. If a ball comes rolling down the street you give it a punt. You love it for the same reason you fall in love. Because you don’t know how to avoid it.”

You will be in love with Britt-Marie for the same reason too. You can’t avoid it. :)


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