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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove (2012)

by Fredrik Backman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (216)  German (5)  Spanish (2)  Danish (2)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Piratical (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All (230)
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
Man Called Ove was a stunning piece of fiction where the characters literally popped off the page. The story centers around a grumpy, older man, who lives alone and finds irritation and conflict in the world around him. As the story progresses, we begin to really get to know Ove, and understand his past and the reasons behind some of his less social traits. A heart warming story that alternately made me laugh and cry ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Apr 26, 2017 |
One of the best books that I have read in a long long time. ( )
  cindysprocket | Apr 26, 2017 |
No, I did not cry, but I was glad the story had come full circle. The plot was predictable in a way but the funny writings sometimes cracked me up unexpectedly. At the end, though, I'm still not a big believer that people are capable of changing much and that much love can be felt. Those qualities only exist in movies... ( )
  LilySheng | Apr 21, 2017 |
Ove is a man who finds the love of his life. He appears to be rather OCD in his mannerisms and lack of social skills. His wife Sonja was his reason to live so when she dies, Ove needs a reason to live. Enter the new neighbors. ( )
  sandylw | Apr 20, 2017 |
When you first open this Swedish novel, it’s hard to believe the reviews that praise A Man Called Ove as a joyful and heart-warming novel.

Ove is a curmudgeon living in a Swedish housing estate who spends his days grumpily policing the neighborhood while carefully plotting his own suicide. His charming and beloved wife, Sonja has died and he sees little point in carrying on.

So he spends his days making sure the neighbors have left their trash bins in the proper location, that no cars are driving in the residential-only areas and that he shovels his walkway just so…

…"it takes him fifteen minutes to free up the paving between the house and the shed. He works with care. Straight lines, even edges. People don’t shovel snow that way any more. Nowadays, they just clear a way, they use snow blowers and all sorts of things. Any old method will do, scattering snow all over the place. As if that was the only thing that mattered in the life: pushing one’s way forward."

As you get to know Ove, you start to sympathize with his on-going lament that people don’t see things his way, which is a shame because they’re missing out on the right way of life. These days, he surmises, everyone worries more about their newfangled computers and cell phones. People don’t take the time to learn simple things like how to fix household items or how to back a trailer into a driveway.

Ove just wants to be left alone to kill himself and he would have done so if it weren’t for a string of demands interfering with his plans. His hapless neighbors need a ride to the hospital. A mangy stray cat is attacked by a dog in his front yard. A buddy of his is ill and his wife can’t get the radiators working, so Ove must stash his already noosed rope and go bleed them.

While Ove fumes over the erratic intrusions into his various death plans (pills, hanging, gunshot…) we learn about his past. The author gently gives us peeks into his past and his personality with some marvelous writing.

He had a job with the railway —

"He had liked working there. Proper tasks, proper tools, a real job."

And then he sees Sonja on a train and conspires to meet her by taking her train several hours out of his way each evening and then travels back to his own station alone, sleeping in the luggage room and washing his clothes in the staff washroom. When he finally gets up the nerve to sit with her and talk they make plans to meet for dinner…

"And when she did finally turn up, in long floral print skirt and a cardigan so red it that it made Ove shift his body weight from his right foot to his left, he decided that maybe her inability to be on time was not the most important thing."

Sonja and Ove have a marriage of opposites but full of love and quiet happiness:

"…she never managed to make Ove read a single Shakespeare play. But as soon as they moved into their terraced house he spent every evening for weeks on end in the tool shed. And when he was done, the most beautiful book cases she had ever seen were in the living room. “You have to keep them somewhere”, he muttered and poked a little cut on his thumb with the tip of a screwdriver. And she crept into his arms and said that she loved him. And he nodded."

There are some points where the plot strains credibility, but you will forgive. Ove reluctantly agrees to teach his neighbor to drive and for some reason the stray cat goes along in the car. This makes for some very funny observations (by the cat of course).

But the beauty of this novel is how the rag-tag group of supporting characters alter Ove’s life…neighbors, the stray cat, a love-struck letter carrier, a gay teen, a journalist — all keep interrupting his careful suicide plans. His capable assistance is needed to prevent one disaster after another.

Get your tissues ready as slowly, Ove is pulled back into life – because he is needed, and in the end, because he is loved. And if you’re like me, you’ll end up loving Ove too.

N.B. I must compliment the translation of this Swedish novel — it is nothing short of brilliant — all the colloquialisms are intact, the humor works on many levels and the characters jump crisply off the page.

A digital review copy was provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.
See all my book reviews at http://www.bookbarmy.com ( )
1 vote BookBarmy | Apr 13, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
Den svenske suksessbloggeren Fredrik Backman drar oss gjennom en forutsigbar fortelling som trykker på alle de rette knappene inntil vi er trygt plassert innenfor vår egen komfortsone.
added by annek49 | editNRK, Knut Hoem (May 9, 2013)
Livet är obegripligt, världen är läskig och det går inte att skydda sig mot den. Fredrik Backman berättar underhållande om botemedlet i sin debutroman.
added by annek49 | editDN, Lotta Olsson (Jan 14, 2013)
Genom humorns prisma belyser ”En man som heter Ove” teman som åldrande, vänskap, sorg, livslust och den föränderliga mansrollen. Boken är varken behärskad eller finputsad – delar är återvunna från Café-bloggen och har skarvats in lite slarvigt – men den är en skruvad och gripande romandebut som mycket väl kan vara början på ett stort humoristiskt författarskap.
This word-of-mouth bestseller has sold more than 650,000 copies in Sweden and has been a hit across Europe. It deserves to do at least as well here. I loved A Man Called Ove so much that I started to ration how much I read to prolong my time with this cantankerous, low-key, misunderstood man. If you enjoyed Rachel Joyce’s marvellous bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, you will love this book.

Each short chapter of A Man Called Ove could stand alone as a beautifully crafted short story. Bring the chapters together and you have the most uplifting, life-affirming and often comic tale of how kindness, love and happiness can be found in the most unlikely places
Backman's tale of 59-yea-old curmudgeon, Ove, not only captured the hearts of Backman's fellow Swedes, but has also swept across Europe as a word-of-mouth best-seller; a domino effect that suggests community spirit and social responsibility isn't quite so lacking as we're often told it is....On occasion the slightly repetitive tone becomes cloying, but Backman can tickle the funny bone and tug on the heart strings when he needs to, and is a clever enough storyteller to not overindulge in either.

For those of you who don't want your fiction to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, A Man Called Ove isn't for you. Yet it's surprisingly cheering to think how many people have embraced this simple but heartwarming novel.

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Backman, Fredrikprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Due, Nina M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koch, HenningTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mennerich, LaurenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Newbern, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ravnild, Louise ArdenfeltTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sybesma, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dear Neda. It's always meant to make you laugh. Always.
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Ove is fifty-nine.
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 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.
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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.
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