Exclusive » Ekskluzivno | 33 What would aman called Ove say today? I think he would point a finger at you, perhaps his whole arm, and tell you to take care of yourself. I think Ove would have said you’re important, because without you there’s more or less only a bunch of idiots left in the world, just think about that. You’re needed..., says the most widely read foreign writer in Serbia, speaking in this exclusive interview for Elevate My name is FredrikBackman. Someonewho cares a lot about you askedme to send you this book, probably because this someone wants you to stay at home and read it. What I want to tell you right off is that you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. e book is about aman calledOve, and quite honestly he would probably have said that “this Corona” is nothing to get in a pickle about, people do so much bloody overreacting these days, it’s down to all the consultants and young people and flyby-nights on the TVwho think they know it all. is would probably have been Ove’s take on it. And it’s fairly difficult discussing anything withOve once he’smade up hismind.” is is what the popular Swedish writer Fredrik Buckman says, referring to the main character of his debut novel A Man Called Ove, which became an international phenomenon after being published in his native Sweden in 2012. e novel has to date been translated into 45 languages, while a film adaptation of the work has received as much praise as the written work. ere is no doubt that this literary template will also receive an adequate adaptation in Hollywood, where preparations are underway for it to be transferred to the big screen, with Tom Hanks in the lead role. e novel AMan CalledOve was translated for the Serbian market by Nikola Perišić, for publishing house Laguna. After gaining popularity among local readers, the same publisher secured the rights to his other titles that followed - Britt-Marie Was Here (also adapted for film and screened at this year’s Belgrade Fest), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, e Deal of a Lifetime and, finally, Anxious People, which became available to Serbian readers in early March, just a few days before the Coronavirus pandemic was declared. During the first weeks of isolation and the imposed state of emergency, this title ranked first in terms of sales and readership in Serbian bookshops. Anxious People thus corresponded with the overall state of the nation. “But I honestly think that Ove, in the current state of affairs, would have said some other things too. I think he would have pointed at you with his hand and even his whole arm to tell you to take care of yourself. I think Ove would have said you’re important, because without you there’s more or less only a bunch of idiots left in the world, just think about that. You’re needed. And I think the person who asked me to send this book wants me to know that you’re loved. You’re someone’s colour. And this person whose colour you are wants to keep feuding with you for many, many years to come. So I want you to take care of your health...” e interview with Fredrik Backman that you find in front of you is a pure exclusive, which we were granted thanks precisely to our cooperation with publishing house Laguna. Known for the fact that granting interviews disrupts his concentration during his obviously busy schedule of writing and publishing, conversations with him are very rare. at’s why we were surprised when he responded positively to Elevate’s request, saying himself that he felt inspired by the questions he received from us… Your novels are bestsellers in dozens of countries… According to critics, they are charming, humorous, and somewhat quirky — but not corny. In short, they’re the kind of books that people fall in love with. It seems difficult today to make someone fall in love, but in your case it seems effortless. How do you manage that? Could you have possibly predicted that your novels and heroes would have been embraced so warmly by readers? ese are a lot of different questions within one question, but let me answer the last one: No, no one ever knows what people will like. Humans are extremely unpredictable when it comes to what stories or books or art or music we will enjoy, because it’s all based on feelings, and feelings can never be predicted. e only thing you can do as a writer is to write what you yourself love and feel strongly about, and hope that others like the same things. When we hear about Scandinavian literature nowadays, we initially think of crime writers and novelists and their dark stories. But you have such a distinctive voice and point of view. What made you decide to write about common people from a different perspective? Did you even think of genre at the beginning or did you just want to tell some different kinds of stories? Well, to be honest there were a lot of Scandinavianwriters long before me who wrote in genres other than crime. Sweden in particular has a very rich history and heritage of great writers and novelists in whose footstep I’m very proud to follow. e “Scandinavian Crime” crime genre has, of course, become known internationally, but Scandinavian literature as a whole comes from a long and fantastic