After reading a few books in a row that featured angsty teenaged protagonists, I’d had enough. I wanted to read a novel about characters with more life experience and with more developed personalities (be they cranky curmudgeons or charming matriarchs)—but still coping with the curveballs life throws. I wanted to spend time with characters like Ove from A MAN CALLED OVE, A.J. from THE STORIED LIFE OF A. J. FIKRY, or anyone from THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL. And did I ever find what I was looking for. Here are 11 novels with older protagonists that you’re sure to love.
Like A MAN CALLED OVE, this Swedish charmer centers on the fantastic exploits of a member of society who many have already written off. In Forrest Gump style, our centenarian hero encounters and influences many of the world’s most famous luminaries—which we slowly learn about during his escape from a retirement home on the eve of his hundredth birthday.
One day Harold Fry receives a letter that Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Rather than write back or even call Harold sets out in his yachting shoes and light coat on the 600 mile walk to see Queenie in person. Believing that as long as he is walking, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts.
This fresh and folksy classic is brimming with good barbeque and Southern charm while tackling heavy subjects with grace and subtlety. In 1930s Alabama, two women run a small-town cafe with love and integrity, surviving visits from the local sheriff, the terror of the Ku Klux Klan, and the rigors of the Great Depression.
Read the full review of BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE.
Backman’s latest, BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE, is an irresistible novel about finding love and second chances in the most unlikely of places. We are packing our bags to move to Sweden.