A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

A Novel

Book - 2014
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A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2014
Edition: First Atria Books hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476738017
9781476738024
Branch Call Number: FIC Backman F
Characteristics: 337 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Online Book Club pick for January 2021. Ove is known as the bitter old man who lives in the neighborhood. But, when new neighbors move next door and accidentally flatten his mailbox, Ove is forced to interact with his surroundings in a new way.

Recommended by JoEllen, Winters-Bellbrook Community Library.

Recommended by JoEllen, Winters-Bellbrook Community Library: "A thoroughly enjoyable read."

Recommended by Lindy, Xenia Community Library

Recommended by Sarah, Xenia Community Library: "This is hands-down one of my new all-time favorite books. It flows so smoothly and has unique and utterly lovable characters, with humor interwoven throughout. I’ll be reading it again very soon."


From the critics


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i
IntrovertReader
Apr 20, 2021

Stories of redemption and hope are sure to satisfy me. Ove is such a crusty old codger when we meet him, everyone he knows has written him off. But as we learn about his life and see him slowly, reluctantly, open up to the new young family next door, we learn to love him as much as they do, proving that no one is ever beyond hope.

t
t_lynschm77
Apr 11, 2021

I'm not sure if my love for this story has to do with having a number of men in my life that share characteristics of Ove, or if it was just a super sweet story in it's own right. I really enjoyed it and came to appreciate the simple yet fiercely principled nature of Ove. They just don't make them like that anymore. The theme of loyalty, principles, and community were refreshing to read. The story is based in Sweden, which I didn't realize until it kept mentioning "kroner" and I had to look up what sort of currency that was. Not that it made much difference to the story, but added a quaintness to it. I appreciated everything about this novel.

a
AJMoore314
Mar 12, 2021

Finished Oct '20

IndyPL_MaryW Mar 09, 2021

Ove is crotchety; he follows all of the rules and expects everyone else to do the same. Enter neighbors that do not follow the rules. Ove follows the same daily routine, his neighbors disrupt his monotony. Ove feels grief, loneliness and is ready to stop living. What do the neighbors do they ask for his help. This book is a good character study, as the story unfolds you learns how Ove became who he is. Assumptions made of others are questioned and unlikely group individuals find community. A good read especially during COVID- 19 when we need to look out for each other. I am anxious to watch the 2015 Swedish film and anticipate Tom Hanks American film adaption scheduled to come out in 2022.

f
funeehunee
Feb 08, 2021

I believe I may be one of the only ones who didn't care much for this book. It was previously described to me as "dreary" and now after finishing it I couldn't agree more. It's definitely on the dark end of the spectrum and not a feel-good, light read in the middle of a cold winter during a pandemic.

d
DJG71
Jan 04, 2021

Such a good book. It made me cry so often.

l
L_Sanga
Oct 25, 2020

I loved, loved, loved this story. A heartwarming tale that makes you ponder the ones in your life that you you cherish. To question yourself.....can I do more for the people I love. Nothing but positive thoughts after finishing.
Backman's distinctive style is evident from this first novel. Emphatic characters that warm the heart.
It's a re-read, it's a 5/5.

b
bobdahlbad
Oct 07, 2020

It can be a bit hard to follow the characters and the story Rolla coasters chronologically but it keeps you asking for more. Ove is someone we can all identify with, either personally or in a family member or friend. You'll laugh, say a few "oh my's" and in the end, shed a few tears. A definite must read, and I'm on to my next Backman book.

i
Indoorcamping
Sep 22, 2020

You think you’re going to read something ordinary, maybe morose. That idea quickly vanishes once you fall deep underwater into the beautiful ocean that is the experience of living in this story. The characters, the plot devices, the man called Ove: so sweet, so funny, so terribly sad. This is why we read, or why we all would be better people: to create some empathy and understanding toward people who, upon first impression, are not impressive.

There is nothing I can write that is in any way worthy of what this book did to me. It plain knocked my views of grouchy old relatives straight out of my head. My relatives are nothing like Ove, but we all know an Ove. What they are inside, what battles they are fighting, what they do for others, what they don’t say, we just assume the worst and don’t dig in to find something greater than we could ever assume.

If anything makes you take the time to look deeper into someone’s story for which you previously ignored, this is it. We all need to be a little more Sonja.

b
BARosen1112
Sep 05, 2020

This book rocketed author Fredrik Backman to world-wide fame, and deservedly so. It's the story of a man whose wife has recently passed away, and finds re-connection thanks to a group of zany, concerned neighbors. Backman employs a fable-like simplicity in style, and the book is filled with insight into belonging, family, friends, as well as humor and warmth. This book was the basis of a wonderful movie of the same name, and Backman has a new one out, Anxious People, which I'm looking forward to reading soon. Ove is highly recommended!

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Quotes

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a
Ana89_0
Mar 06, 2020

All people want to live dignified lives; dignity just means something different to different people.

a
Ana89_0
Mar 06, 2020

We always think that there is 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 do words like "if".

c
cknightkc
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

c
cknightkc
Jul 21, 2017

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

c
cknightkc
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

k
KaseyNB
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.”

k
KaseyNB
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. "

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

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

j
jimg2000
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.

j
jimg2000
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.

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Summary

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s
supkanjilal
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.

c
calistarm
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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