A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

A Novel

Book - 2014
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Read the New York Times bestseller that has taken the world by storm!

In this "charming debut" ( People ) from one of Sweden's most successful authors, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon--the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand , Fredrik Backman's novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. "If there was an award for 'Most Charming Book of the Year,' this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down" ( Booklist , starred review).
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2014.
Edition: First Atria Books hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781476738017
Characteristics: 337 pages ; 24 cm


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From Library Staff

Ove is a fifty-nine year-old man who complains about everything. “He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s torch.” He drives a Saab and thinks anyone who doesn’t drive a Saab is an imbecile. He is devoted to... Read More »

From the critics

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Jul 15, 2019

Loved it. It is a slow revelation of one man's life and personality. Blended with funny quirky characters. Tragedy and comedy.

Jul 11, 2019

I had read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry first and absolutely loved it, so when I started this one I didn't think I would like it as much but I did enjoy it and I absolutely loved the ending. I am looking forward to reading his other books soon!

May 30, 2019

This is a lovely book. I couldn't put it down. I laughed and cried through all of it. Very heartwarming. And it especially makes you realize in this day and age that even if we look different, eat different, talk different, at the heart of it we are all the same.

May 17, 2019


May 10, 2019

It was a charming and wonderful read, however, it wasn’t exactly refreshing, was it? It’s not exactly new and we knew where this story would end up, so the question was how it happens. I liked it a great deal but, I usually reserve five stars for books that aren’t so familiar, and syrupy.

May 06, 2019

Just could not get into this book; yet others rave about it. Just goes to show how we all have different tastes in our reading travels.

Apr 07, 2019

So boring, I could not get very far into it and stopped reading it altogether.

Mar 16, 2019

When I began Reading A Man Called Ove, I thought to myself how glad I was that I had read all but one of Fredrick Backman's other books first.

About halfway through A Man Called Ove I finally became engaged in the story.
About three quarters of the way through, when he decided to teach "Pregnant Foreign Woman" to drive, I fell a little bit in love with Ove.
By the end, my heart was full ... and shattered.

Some here are upset about the way Ove names things or treats the cat, but they have to realize Ove is not a man of this time, of their time. There was a time, in my adult life as recently as the early 1970's, when gays happily called themselves a word that the political correctness police have now banned. There was a time when men were not publicly diminished and insulted when they spoke their thoughts. They were the original "speak truth to power" folks, not the poor carbon copies that claim that mantle today. There was a time when there was no such thing as 'political correctness'. Was it a better time? I don't know, but in my opinion, in this issue, yes, because truth is always better than disguised truth. Bucking up to to honest truth is always better than cowering to the disguised truth of political correctness. Is there a value in saying what you think? Yes, I believe so. Is there a value in saying it kindly? Absolutely.

I hate that people today denigrate and want to censor what was TRUE in the past: the ugliness today surrounding the truth OF THE TIME of Huckleberry Finn or of Of Mice and Men, when it WASN'T considered ugly but a fact of life in that time. In MY opinion, those offended need thicker skin. And to learn a little history. By censoring yourself, you are missing so much great literature. By censoring for others you are responsible for their missing it and especially for their opportunity to decide for themselves. You may not like a fact, you may want to erase a fact, but you cannot change the existence of a fact. Celebrate the changes and growth FROM the past rather than trying to pretend it didn't exist. It did.

I'm better for having read the now 'banned' books, not for celebrating the reason for the banning but for the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture different than today, to learn the differences and the WHY of the differences. My adult children are as well when they read them and their young children, as they now read great literature by great authors, are too. One of what I considered the funniest of a sincerely spewed insult was when I was called a racist for RE-READING The Story of Little Black Sambo, a book well loved and remembered from my childhood. A book we read in school. Thought police, indeed.

The needless angst over a few words in A Man Called Ove doesn't diminish the story, it enriches the character as we watch him grow and LEARN.

Ove was a man of his time when ACTIONS meant more than words, when a man was defined by his actions, not by mere ephemeral words. Ove's honor and his actions belie and far outweigh his "political incorrectness".

Cheryl_in_IT Feb 20, 2019

A perfect blend of humor and heartache, A Man Called Ove was just the story I needed. I've had it on my to-read list for a long time now and when I finally started listening, the timing was perfect.

Not only is it a well crafted story in its own right, if you are a DIY type person or have someone in your life who is mystified by people who aren't inclined to learn how to change a tire or "fix a thing" ... this is the book for you. I laughed all the way through this, because I heard the familiar voices of friends and family in Ove's gripes and complaints. The characters are fantastic - especially Parvaneh... and the cat.

Feb 13, 2019

A Persian woman and her family, a scrawny cat, and two indolent teenagers interrupt Ove's plans in a funny and heartrending story. In a throw away world Ove re-finds that he is needed and that he needs others. Love it and want to read it again. One of the best I've read in the last year.

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Jul 21, 2017

Ove has probably known all along what he has to do, but all people at root are time optimists. We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like “if”. - p. 282

Jul 21, 2017

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say,” said Ove - p. 78

Jul 21, 2017

Her laughter catches him off guard. As if it’s carbonated and someone has poured it too fast and it’s bubbling over in all directions. It doesn’t fit at all with the gray cement and right-angled garden paving stones. It’s an untidy, mischievous laugh that refuses to go along with rules and prescriptions. - p. 60

Apr 14, 2017

“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it's often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”

Apr 14, 2017

“To love someone is like moving into a house," Sonja used to say. "At first you fall in love in everything new, you wonder every morning that this is one's own, as if they are afraid that someone will suddenly come tumbling through the door and say that there has been a serious mistake and that it simply was not meant to would live so fine. But as the years go by, the facade worn, the wood cracks here and there, and you start to love this house not so much for all the ways it is perfect in that for all the ways it is not. You become familiar with all its nooks and crannies. How to avoid that the key gets stuck in the lock if it is cold outside. Which floorboards have some give when you step on them, and exactly how to open the doors for them not to creak. That's it, all the little secrets that make it your home. "

Apr 14, 2017

“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”

Sep 25, 2016

“. . . a laptop?” Ove shakes his head wildly and leans menacingly over the counter. “No, I don’t want a ‘laptop.’ I want a computer.”

Every morning for the almost four decades they had lived in this house, Ove had put on the coffee percolator, using exactly the same amount of coffee as on any other morning, and then drank a cup with his wife. One measure for each cup, and one extra for the pot—no more, no less.

Ove stomped forward. The cat stood up. Ove stopped. They stood there measuring up to each other for a few moments, like two potential troublemakers in a small-town bar. Ove considered throwing one of his clogs at it. The cat looked as if it regretted not bringing its own clogs to lob back.

Also drives an Audi, Ove has noticed. He might have known. Self-employed people and other idiots all drive Audis.

Suddenly he’s a bloody “generation.” Because nowadays people are all thirty-one and wear too-tight trousers and no longer drink normal coffee.

Sep 25, 2016

All the things Ove’s wife has bought are “lovely” or “homey.” Everything Ove buys is useful. Stuff with a function.

The little foreign woman steps towards him and only then does Ove notice that she’s either very pregnant or suffering from what Ove would categorize as selective obesity.

“Holy Christ. A lower-arm amputee with cataracts could have backed this trailer more accurately than you,”

Ove doubts whether someone who can’t park a car properly should even be allowed to vote.

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say,” said Ove.

Nowadays people changed their stuff so often that any expertise in how to make things last was becoming superfluous. Quality: no one cared about that anymore.

Sep 25, 2016

He believed so strongly in things: justice and fair play and hard work and a world where right just had to be right. Not so one could get a medal or a diploma or a slap on the back for it, but just because that was how it was supposed to be.

As if that was how they built the Colosseum and the pyramids of Giza. Christ, they’d managed to build the Eiffel Tower in 1889, but nowadays one couldn’t come up with the bloody drawings for a one-story house without taking a break for someone to run off and recharge their cell phone. This was a world where one became outdated before one’s time was up.

She loved only abstract things like music and books and strange words. Ove was a man entirely filled with tangible things. He liked screwdrivers and oil filters.

“You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away,”

“Once upon a time there was a little train,” reads Ove, with all the enthusiasm of someone reciting a tax statement.

Sep 25, 2016

“There’s Every human being needs to know what she’s fighting for. That was what they said. And she fought for what was good. For the children she never had. And Ove fought for her. Because that was the only thing in this world he really knew.

She liked talking and Ove liked keeping quiet. Retrospectively, Ove assumed that was what people meant when they said that people were compatible.

Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.

The two men look at each other through the locomotive window as if they had just emerged from some apocalyptic desert and now realized that neither of them was the last human being on earth. One is relieved by this insight. And the other disappointed.

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May 30, 2019

Grumpy old man who has lost his wife decides he wants to join her. But everytime he tries to, he gets sucked into helping his new neighbors, and all sorts of other random people....people who are too incompetent and unable to DIY things like he and folks from old time can/could. This book has a heartwarming story. People you meet and avoid because you think you have nothing in common and can never connect to...you'd be surprised that sometimes you can.

ArapahoeSusanW Oct 20, 2016

Grumpy old man with a heart of gold, I loved this novel and found it quite heartwarming.

Jun 02, 2016

A book about seeing past first impressions to create unlikely friendships. This book is about a grumpy old man who collects an unusual group of friends and reflects on a life well lived.


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Apr 28, 2017

jandt_mcmurray thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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