FICTION

Britt-Marie Was Here

Atria. May 2016. 324p. tr. from Swedish by Henning Koch. ISBN 9781501142536. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501142550. F
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OrangeReviewStarBritt-Marie believes fervently in the correct order of things, such as flatware, groaning to herself "barbarians!" when she encounters everything tossed together in a drawer. She has definite ideas on correct grooming and dress and often blurts out her opinion to everyone. But horrors await when she leaves her unfaithful husband and ventures to the small town of Borg. Starting a job as caretaker in a recreation center, Britt-Marie has to deal with flying soccer balls, impetuous youth, unfamiliar machines, laconic rustics, and a rat. She takes it all on with an exclamation (Ha!) and her cleaning products. Backman's (A Man Called Ove) introduces readers to a woman coming to life in her early 60s. Her not always quiet charm will entertain many new readers, broadening the appeal of his earlier best-selling book. The novel is set in Sweden but rarely is that discernible, so universal are the situations and human interactions.
VERDICT Backman hits a nice note between overly sweet and hard-boiled fiction; excellent for book clubs. [LibraryReads top May pick (ow.ly/r1KB300n7kc)].

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