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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,992 reviews298k followers
October 1, 2016
Update: I had planned to leave this post as it is, but after seeing the continued kind responses, I thought it best to inform you that my grandad passed away just before Christmas. Thank you to everyone who commented about this review and about him, but it seemed wrong to not let you know. It's always hard to lose someone who has been such a huge part of your life from day one, but please know that he died a happy old man, peacefully, surrounded by his family. And isn't that the best any of us can ever hope for?

~ Emily ♥


I'm going to share something with you.

My grandad is the very definition of curmudgeonly. He's an eighty year old man who likes to complain about anything and everything: youth today, UK politics, my dad, the weather, technology... you name it. He calls me and my siblings up most days to tell stories punctuated with rants and numerous "bloody hell"s. I'm not worried about him seeing this post because he doesn't trust computers and hasn't even grasped the concept of the internet. Most new technology is referred to as "those bloody things", except for FaceTime, which he has recently taken a liking to. He makes use of it by popping up on my iPhone multiple times a day to deliver a bout of doom and gloom in which I see nothing on the screen but his chin.

All my friends are a little afraid of him and are never quite sure when he's joking. He is nothing short of a grumpy old man. Except, in truth, that's only half of it.

The other day I opened the mailbox to find an envelope which contained this picture of me and him from my graduation:

And with it came this note:

Thing is, behind whatever my grandad may seem on the outside, he is a loving man who lost his wife - my grandmother - several years ago. He bugs us constantly with his moaning about life because he's lonely and because he misses us. He has a heart and he has a sense of humour, even if most people don't really get it. And it was in Ove, the protagonist of this novel, that I recognized pieces of my grandad.
“People said he was bitter. Maybe they were right. He’d never reflected much on it. People also called him antisocial. Ove assumed this meant he wasn’t overly keen on people. And in this instance he could totally agree with them. More often than not people were out of their minds.”

I loved Ove. Parts of this novel punched me right in my emotions. I think I would have been okay if this novel was merely a sad, moving tale about a man who has to get on with his life after his wife died. I could have shaken off the emotional manipulation - as I did with The Fault in Our Stars - and not shed a tear. But this story is so much more than a tearjerker.

Ove shouldn't be a character we love; he's so miserly and grumpy and skeptical of everything... but he's also hilarious. He charms us with his completely uncharming ways. Because, though I don't share his worldview, what he says actually makes sense and sometimes it's really funny. Take this:

“Ove glares out of the window. The poser is jogging. Not that Ove is provoked by jogging. Not at all. Ove couldn’t give a damn about people jogging. What he can’t understand is why they have to make such a big thing of it. With those smug smiles on their faces, as if they were out there curing pulmonary emphysema. Either they walk fast or they run slowly, that’s what joggers do. It’s a forty-year-old man’s way of telling the world that he can’t do anything right. Is it really necessary to dress up as a fourteen-year-old Romanian gymnast in order to be able to do it? Or the Olympic tobogganing team? Just because one shuffles aimlessly around the block for three quarters of an hour?”

Plus, there's a wonderful cat who our lovable protagonist grudgingly befriends, which just improves this book even more.

I think perhaps the saddest part of this book is not found in the most obvious place. Ove's loss of his wife touched me, but I was even more affected by the underlying tale of old age and how many old people can be left feeling lonely and out of place towards the end of their lives. How difficult it must be to live alone in a world that becomes more foreign to you every day, with its new gadgets and trends that you don't understand or care to entertain. It was moving and thought-provoking.

I'm going to call my grandad now.

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Profile Image for Lynda.
204 reviews97 followers
January 23, 2015
"Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it's often one of the greatest 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."
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

"For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone."
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

I'm sitting here this afternoon, alone. Alone and contemplating. Contemplating life. Contemplating time. Contemplating age. Just contemplating...

I do so with tear streaked cheeks. I've just finished crying. I've just parted with a man I've never met, yet a man I feel I know so well. A man I disliked in the beginning, yet a man I loved at the end. A man who spent his life contemplating. A Man Called Ove.

Ove (pronounced 'Oo-veh') is a cantankerous, taciturn, inflexible man. He's a veritable stick in the mudslide of human advancement, futilely rebelling against it. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots, with people always disappointing him. Over the years he has been conned, ripped off and harrassed, mainly by bureaucrats ("the men in the white shirts"), whom he despises. He is a man who lives life fairly and squarely but finds himself beset by injustice and bad luck.

Ove has certainly had his fair share of sadness. At 59, he's lost his job as well as the love of his life, his wife Sonja. He misses Sonja so much that sometimes he can't bear existing in his own body.
"Loving someone is like moving into a house. At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren't actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfections, but rather for its imperpections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it's cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without them creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home."

“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

Life has got to the point where Ove's had enough. He is fed up. So fed up that he simply wants to end it all. He wants out of this world.

A Man Called Ove essentially calls out the dangers of living in a society that focuses more on thought than action, and highlights the risk of imprisoning oneself in grief.

There is a sombreness to this novel (afterall, it's from Sweden! :-) ), but there is also optimism and lots of laugh out loud humor.
“Ove glares out of the window. The poser is jogging. Not that Ove is provoked by jogging. Not at all. Ove couldn’t give a damn about people jogging. What he can’t understand is why they have to make such a big thing of it. With those smug smiles on their faces, as if they were out there curing pulmonary emphysema. Either they walk fast or they run slowly, that’s what joggers do. It’s a forty-year-old man’s way of telling the world that he can’t do anything right. Is it really necessary to dress up as a fourteen-year-old Romanian gymnast in order to be able to do it? Or the Olympic tobogganing team? Just because one shuffles aimlessly around the block for three quarters of an hour?”
I simply adored this book. Backman's writing is clean and simple, at times deceptively so, with its gentle, episodic and occasionally repetitive structure. The story is laced with loneliness, with life's numerous disappointments and the great grey weight of the real; the last chapters deliver some unexpectedly savage emotional blows. But this is tempered with a sense of quiet celebration.

A note of hope threads through the writing, building slowly, and the small details as much as the grand narrative delight and move: the moments of connection, the reawakening of a man frozen by grief, the ability of people to touch one another's lives.

This is a MUST READ. It will resonate with everyone.

Profile Image for Debbie.
454 reviews2,894 followers
June 18, 2016
Argh! It’s hard not to start this review with a bunch of expletives, because this book pissed me off royally! Shit! See, I can’t even hold it in. The cat and the fat were the straws that broke the camel’s back.

Let’s start with Ove not liking the cat. Not liking the cat is one thing. For some reason bitching about a cat is supposed to be funny, but to me it’s annoying. Ove kicking the cat a couple of times cranked my wincing up a notch. But there was a way worse cat crime: Ove was going to leave the cat to die in a snow bank! The neighbor saw the cat and saved it, while Ove looked on with annoyance. So Ove isn’t just grumpy, he’s heartless--seriously mean. And then miraculously, yet still predictably, Ove comes to like the cat and suddenly they’re best friends. At least the story’s predictability saved me from fretting incessantly about the cat.

Cat problem number 2: The author, Backman, is completely absolutely totally clueless when it comes to cats. Cats are known for not being adaptable. Yet here is a stray cat; i.e., probably unsocialized and skittish and scared of people, who immediately and happily jumps into Ove’s car and accompanies him on all his errands. I mean the cat actually goes into stores with him! What??? I’ve met maybe one cat that doesn’t hate riding in a car. You usually can’t even coax a cat into the car, but if you do succeed, the second the car starts moving the cat freaks out. And it’s highly unlikely that the cat would follow its new person into a store, full of strange people, sounds, smells, and objects; it’s just ludicrous. When the cat walked into McDonald’s with Ove, that was the last straw. And never mind that restaurants don’t even allow pets (including Sweden). The writer should have made the animal a dog instead of a cat, or should have talked to a cat person before writing the book.

The next huge bitch I have is the way the author talks about the big guy, Jimmy. Ove makes a disparaging comment about the guy letting himself get fat. So at first, I thought, okay, so Ove doesn’t like fat people; he doesn’t like anyone, so that’s not surprising. But I quickly see it’s the author who has a problem. When the author first introduces Jimmy, he’s referred to a “quarter-tonner” who, the author says, probably tests bacon for a living! The author mentions something about Jimmy’s weight every single time Jimmy enters a scene. For instance, the author says something like “the overweight man gets into the car.” That’s like saying every time a non-overweight person gets into a car, “the height-weight proportionate man gets into the car.” Not only is it obnoxious that the author points out Jimmy’s weight every chance he gets, but isn’t it bad writing to repeat, time after time, the same feature of a particular character? He’s overweight, we get it. The author’s prejudices and insensitivities are shining through, and they aren’t pretty: Jimmy either has food hanging out of his mouth, or has food spilled on his clothes, or he’s looking for food. I hate to tell the author, but most overweight people are not slovenly and they often don’t even eat in public. His prejudice against overweight people was prominent and infuriating.

But I’m not done. Let’s talk about Ove’s transformation. First, why in the hell would an upbeat woman fall in love with the jerk? Talk about an unlikable character! And why would any neighbor put up with his shit? Not believable, sorry. Second, how would his personality change over just a couple of months? People don’t transform that fast, if at all. But most important, I want to know why someone who is grumpy and mean becomes a super star when he simply turns into a civil human being. Why is he being rewarded, praised, adored, and esteemed because he finally becomes civil? Why does he get extra credit for acting civil, like everyone else is doing all along?

Okay, there are a couple of fine things about the book. Ove is so well drawn, I believed every nasty word he uttered. Also, the language is good, and the story moves along seamlessly.

But there are many structural and logistical problems. One time the same paragraph appears three times within 20 pages. Another time, a character disappears from a scene. This all points to a careless editor and writer. Debut book or no debut book, it shouldn’t be this sloppy.

I wish I had better news. Those who aren’t bothered by cat and fat insensitivities might find Ove to be interesting and funny, and the book entertaining. I didn’t. The majority of reviews are positive. It just hit me all wrong.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 9, 2020
Shout out to this absolutely fabulous book in my latest booktube video - all about the best books I read each month and 2019's bookish stats (and yes, I really did read 365 books in 365 days!).

Now that you know this one made the cut - check out the video to see what other ones made my top 12 list!

The written review:

He went through life with his hands firmly shoved into his pockets. She danced.
Ove is the quintessential grumpy old man.

He lives in a little development, where he spends much of his time patrolling and reporting rule-breakers.

Even when he was younger, Ove has always been...particular.

He had a steward set of principles and absolutely compromised them.
Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.
But then...Sonja came into his life.
She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.
And immediately, Ove's life was forever changed.
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.
But, after many, many blissful years of marriage, Ove is grieving. Grieving far harder than he ever would have thought possible.
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.
Ove has always been grumpy, but since the loss of his wife, those characteristics have grown tenfold.

Most, if not all, of the neighbors avoid him as much as possible...and with nothing left for him, all Ove can think about is finding a way to join Sonja...that is until a young family moves in next door.

The bumbling husband and his young (and VERY pregnant wife), Parvaneh, move in, along with their two children.

And suddenly his world becomes upended for the second time in his life.

Three points:
1) where has this book been all my life?!

2) according to the audiobook, he's "Oo-vah". It's weird, and I'm honestly disappointed that it's not "Love" but without the "L"

3) this is, quite possibly, the best book ever
To summarize - this one was truly one of the best books I've ever read. It is so well-written and it's has the perfect blend of heartwarming and heartwrenching.

I can hardly believe how many times I almost cried...only to burst out laughing. My emotions were a roller coaster in the best way possible.

The characters were incredibly real - I really felt like I could have a full conversation with all of them.

And Ove! Ove is a charming old grump - and I love how this book emphasizes humanity - how even the old man down the street needs love in his life.

It's just so good - PICK IT UP TODAY!

Audiobook Comments
Read by George Newbern - and he really nailed it. The audiobook was so perfect - so incredible!

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Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
January 11, 2023
When I finished reading this book, I closed it very gently, as though the pages were flesh that might be bruised. Something about the moment felt very fragile, and it was hard to immediately identify how I felt then: a fierce sense of joy swiftly yanked back by the leash of a sadness still incipient, a grief that had not sunk in yet. There’s a hollowness in me now, a rawness that only a novel like A Man Called Ove leaves behind.

A Man Called Ove traces the story of Ove, a cranky 59-year-old Swedish man who lost his wife, then his job. Ove’s first suicide attempt is interrupted by his very pregnant and very blunt Iranian neighbor, Parvaneh, and her annoyingly sunny husband who seems determined to aggrieve Ove by not properly parking his car, and later, for the rest of the novel, by a series of comically mundane happenings “that made [Ove] sufficiently angry to hold his attention.”

From such a tragic and simple premise, Backman crafts an unforgettable story about love, loss, family and friendship, with all their risks and rewards. This is probably not the best reading material for your commute, because (and speaking from experience) you will likely find yourself too immersed in your reading to remember your stop.

One of the most impressive elements of this novel is the way Backman nails that perfect mix of tragedy and comedy, allowing the reader to experience fierce joy even when the story probes real grimness. He never comes off as irreverent or disrespectful, but nor does he allow the story to become too unbearably sad. The reader senses from the outset a very deep compassion between protagonist and author, and it's contagious. Ove is a very special character, and it takes, I think, a rare talent to treat this sort of character with not just respect but with sincere empathy and infectious enthusiasm.

I spent most of my time reading with my heart aching for Ove. Ove, who is not a people person, who lives his life by the bullish assumption that any course of action he suggests would automatically be undertaken by those to whom he suggested it. Ove who bleeds integrity, who believes that “there’s a right way of doing things, and a wrong way.” Ove whose grumpy facade conceals a deep loneliness and an even deeper grief. It's impossible not to love Ove, and in loving him, to grieve for him (and with him). At the heart of the matter, after all, is grief; and Backman’s explorations of loss and aftermath—what it means to grieve and grieve messily, to not only mourn the loss of another, but also the loss of the hidden parts of yourself that only they could coax out of you—comes through with powerful clarity in A Man Called Ove. For years, love was a big blue wave that lifted Ove up; it shored him up, carried him home, and just when he believed it would last forever, it disappeared and left him behind. There one moment, and then gone.

I don't think I've ever felt this helplessly sad reading a novel, but when I think about Ove's story, I want to think about the love Ove and his wife had for each other and the steady and undemanding affection of it; about the generous transformation of Ove’s neighbours into the most cherished of friends; about the deep steadfast stream of kindness that carries the novel; and of course, about Ove himself, the most loveable grumpy comedian in the world.

I can't recommend this novel highly enough. A Man Called Ove will make you smile and it will make you cry and it will make you feel so deeply for someone who doesn’t exist but whom you'll never forget.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
433 reviews4,247 followers
July 7, 2023
The One Who Does Not Read Books sat down and listened to the audiobook and started chuckling. The One Who Does Not Read Books also has a Saab.

Ove is a grumpy old man who finds himself alone. However, things begin to change quickly when his new next door neighbors run over his mailbox as they move in. Can Ove find new value to bring in this Starbucks laden, InterNET infested world?

This is one of the funniest books that I have ever read. Backman perfectly nailed the character of Ove. Personally, I was laughing so much because The One Who Does Not Read (and also owns a Saab) shares many of the same characteristics as Ove that I was laughing so hard!

There is one member of my family who has emphatically insisted that he does not read (The One Who Does Not Read). After initially refusing, I heard him chuckling in the other room. Eventually, he sat down next to me and listened to some of the audiobook.

Overall, this book hit the perfect spot! It definitely delivered on the funny!

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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798 reviews79 followers
May 11, 2014
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 5-8-14. Finished 5-11-14. First let me explain what happened to me while reading this book aloud to my wife as she was preparing dinner. I'm 70; she's almost 70. I'd read the first page, laughed out loud and decided she'd like to hear it read. I read, we laughed and nodded knowingly, then I got to the end of chapter 4 and completely lost it---I couldn't continue through those last few sentences. My wife said I should quit since she knows that I cry at supermarket openings! Now how many books have you read that can cause that kind of a physical and emotional response?! On the other hand, this book is hilarious, insightful, touching and just plain awesome. It seems pretty simple at first but there is more depth to this book than any I've read in forever. As I got near the end, I thought that there really should be a sequel, then the plot changed-----definitely no sequel. But I'm thankful I had the opportunity to read this. You will too.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews603 followers
October 23, 2019
This is a tale that makes you appreciate life!

I vote *OVE* as 'character-of-the-year'! The author has created the most memorable character to be found in a novel --in years.

*OVE*, is an unassuming man. He likes routines, and rules. He's an honest man. Doesn't smile and give compliments -- but he's a man of integrity.

To watch OVE grow - heal the loss of his wife -and allow his neighbors to love him (and love them back) -- is is a treasure.

This book has great humor & great heart!

Its a personal gift for 'all' readers! DON'T MISS THIS GEM!
Profile Image for Nicholas Sparks.
Author 300 books226k followers
July 28, 2017
This novel, set in Sweden, tells the story of Ove, who can best be described as a curmudgeon. The story takes place after the death of his wife, and shows how healing can occur with the unlikeliest of people, in the unlikeliest of ways.
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.5k followers
April 5, 2023

Everyone said it. Everyone in the whole world agreed: this book is lovable as hell. Everyone stated, in unison, “It is impossible not to fall in love with A Man Called Ove.”

I, the queen of unpopular opinions (yes people definitely call me that, and not just me, in an attempt to get people to think it’s a nickname and start using it), thought I knew better.

I did not know better.

This book sneaks right into your heart. Even if you think you have a heart of stone, surrounded by a tall wall and lava and three moats with sea monsters in them, this story will crawl in when you’re not paying attention and it WILL NOT LEAVE. It will use its wittiness and its likable Scandinavian style and its grumpy protagonist and its ragtag cast of characters and its unsentimentally related moments of pure sadness, and it will make you love it. If aliens wanted to invade the world, and they wanted to take over through the sheer power of affection and charm, they could do it with A Man Called Ove and we would all be powerless to stop it.

My recommendation: Don’t try to stop it. Read this book.


Bottom line: I, Emma, recommend this book and have definitely not been taken over by aliens!


okay FINE so maybe everyone was right.

review to come

currently-reading updates

if I don't like this book, I'm pretty sure I'm allowed to sue the whole world
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,307 reviews44k followers
October 15, 2022
Fredrik Backman is one of my favorite authors who has unique gift to create deeply layered, unforgettable, quirky, irritating characters who achieve to conquer our hearts when they show their true colors by sharing their vulnerability honestly, sensitivity genuinely.

Ove seems like one of the grumpiest characters of the literature history. He never smiles. He doesn’t like saying nice things to people around him. He has his principles. He likes his special routine. He is straightforward, telling his opinions with pure and ugly honesty.

But when you learn his traumatic past and how he loses his wife, your biased thoughts about him start to change and as he starts to connect with his neighbors and touch their lives, we realize he has a golden hearted, interestingly one of a kind man who steals a special part of your heart.

This is one of my favorite works of the author and I chose to listen its audiobook for my flashback Saturday reading. ( when mercury is in the retrograde, those flashback reading become more meaningful!)

Narrator George Newbern ( I know him as Scandal series’ quirky contact killer Charlie! ) did an amazing job! I highly recommend you to give it a try!

Here are my favorite quotes of the book:

“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'.”

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

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

“But sorrow is unreliable in that way. When people don’t share it there’s a good chance that it will drive them apart instead.”
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews176k followers
August 7, 2015
This was such a nice story! It's about the transformations we go through in life and how different events within our life affect, shape us, and make us who we are today.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews32 followers
July 27, 2021
Ein Mann Namens Ove = A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove is a 2012 novel by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish columnist, blogger and writer. It was published in English in 2013.

On U.S. edition cover jacket "Ove is 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.” However, 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 heart-warming 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."

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «مردی به نام اوه»؛ «مردی به نام اووه»؛ نویسنده فردریک بکمن؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و هشتم ماه اکتبر سال دوهزار و شانزده میلادی

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عنوان مردی به نام اوه؛ نویسنده: فردریک بکمن؛ مترجم جواد شاهدی؛ قم، نظاره، 1397؛ در 384ص؛ شابک 9786008870609؛

عنوان: مردی به نام اووه؛ نویسنده فردریک بکمن؛ مترجم سعید گوهری راد؛ ویراستار علی احمدی؛ تهران، نکوراد، 1396؛ در 356ص؛ شابک 9786006443256؛

بکمن در رمان «مردی به نام اوه»؛ بینشی انتقادی به اجتماع دارند، و احساساتی همچون «عشق»، و «نفرت» را، به زیبایی به تصویر می‌کشند، جامعه را در لفاف طنز، زیر پرسش می‌برند، و انزوا و ریشه‌ های مشکلات بشر مدرن را، می‌کاوند؛ نثر کتاب، ساده و روان است، و خواندنش لذت‌بخش، مفاهیم ژرفی در بر دارد، که از دیدگان تیزبین و ذهن‌های منتقد، هرگزی پنهان نمی‌ماند؛ روزنامه ی «اشپیگل» درباره ی این رمان نوشته است «کسی که از این رمان خوشش نیاید، بهتر است هیچ کتابی نخواند»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 04/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,853 followers
June 4, 2023
A subtle retrospective of a fascinating main character integrating much space for laughs and deeper thoughts.

What do this Scandinavians do to write such new styles of bittersweet tragic comic hybrid things, not to mention all the thrillers I will possibly read one day. Backman and Jonas Jonasson are the trendsetters of a new style of comedic writing I couldn´t point my finger at how it´s done, it´s as if the long, dark winters have infiltrated the comedy sector and left chasms behind each second corner.

Passages describing the main protagonist as unfriendly, grumpy misanthrope switch with retrospectives and friendly actions, leading to the inner fragmentation of the badass old fellow.

Many call this new comedy genre banal and too constructed, because it doesn´t give much about writing conventions, but I find both Backman and Jonas highly refreshing, like their direct and quick plotted style, and how they mix real and fictional elements together to construct a mixture of history, fiction, and satire.

Not my average reading, but one of the cases where looking over the reading fence and the borders genre preferences often subtly dictate to readers has been a full success, possibly I´ll read one more of Backmans´ works. For readers who are in emotional and character driven works, it´s close to a must read, although I don´t know so much about those genres, so that my objective recommendation should be taken with a grain of salt.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for PirateSteve.
90 reviews337 followers
March 28, 2018

Ove - gruff, insensitive, antisocial - Ove
6 months in widower finds nothing remains to live for.

The writing/English translation of Ove's story is top-notch. The story-line itself plays very well with this character study.The story moves forward, then comes a little back story, we move forward again and this pace continues through out the book at finely tuned measurements.
But that's not why 5 stars.
My 5 stars comes because every time the story moved forward, someone touched on my emotions.
And every time I read another piece of back story, Ove or his wife(Sonja) pulled on my emotions.
So halfway into the book and there is a slight feeling of attachment starting to take hold.
And by the end of the book there was solid emotional investment ... it's worth it.

excerpts are spoiler(ish)
Profile Image for Megan Johnson.
47 reviews78 followers
June 20, 2017
Since I have been reading more and more, I have realized that it is not always beneficial to give each book a 5 star rating just because you got to the end of it. This book, I mean THIS BOOK deserves a 5 star rating. If I could give it more than I would, but alas I cannot. :(

So, here's the review. Greif is a strange thing, I have heard many people say. I have lost people in my life, but not in the way that Ove has in this book. Ove mother dies when he is young, leaving Ove and his father. His father taught Ove how to be a man in so many ways. He was taught that a Saab was the best car to purchase, which Ove goes above and beyond to stay loyal to that car company. His father taught him how to work and cook and love. Then, Ove looses his father when he is 16. This leaves Ove in a bad place, he literally becomes a hermit in a way and doesn't talk or bother with people anymore. He takes over his father's job. Then there were some issues with that, but Ove was honest and trusting and he came out on top of that issue!

Ove then meets Sonja when he is on a bus. Buses have a lot to do with this story come to think of it. Ove finds his wife and the love of his life on that bus that day. He also looses a lot on a bus on a different day - but you'll have to read the book to find that part out ;). Ove and Sonja moved into a row home together and shortly after Sonja passes away.

This leaves Ove with nothing and he doesn't know what to do with himself. He lived his life to please her and now she is gone. Here's the thing about grief, people deal with it in all kinds of ways. Ove was dealing with it in the worst way you could, until his new neighbors moved in. This is where the book gets going really, and I don't want to say too much because I think it is really important that if you want to read this book that you get the entire story how it was intended by the Author.

Moral of my little review, Ove was a mean, grumpy, miserable man until those neighbors moved in and that brought Ove out of his shell. He was needed by people again and he felt wanted. He became a family with everyone in the neighborhood all because of that little family who lived across the street.

Some things to remember when you are reading this book:

1.) Buses
2.) Pink Flowers
3.) Saab's
4.) Rules - Ove was NOT a rule breaker
5.) Love
6.) Hands - an odd one, but true!
7.) White Shirts

This is the end of my review. I loved this book and I feel like I will reread this one many times when I feel alone or upset or just want to read a damn good book!

If you have any questions or want to know more about it than I have told you, please private message me.

Enjoy reading this wonderful book! :)
Profile Image for Debbie "DJ".
352 reviews403 followers
April 1, 2015
When I began reading A Man Called Ove, I thought what a clever tale of an angry old man. The kind that believes rules and regulations are of utmost importance, that see the world filled with stupid people, and is always right. The way the author describes him and his actions are hilarious, as I have known a few Oves myself. They have their principles!

The only person Ove had and loved dearly, was his wife, Sonja. She has just passed away, and all Ove wants to do is kill himself, but those pesky neighbors keep getting in his way!

I was enjoying all the fun until about the 40% mark, then I started getting angry myself. It is always others who make Ove begrudgingly do the right thing. It was always his wife who made all the excuses for him as a basically non-functioning adult.

There were two items in particular that I really didn't like. The first was his cat, a stray, whom if not for his neighbors he would have let die. The second is a neighbor called Jimmy. Jimmy is overweight, and the constant references to food hanging out of his mouth, and stains on his shirt were just plain rude.

I pressed on even though it was getting tough to read. There was one paragraph near the ending about getting older that touched my heart, but other than that, it was just more of the same.

The author, Fredrik Backman, is a blogger, and this is his first novel. He is a good writer, and I can see how blogs of Ove would be fun, but as a whole book it just didn't work for me...but, I am in the minority!
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 18 books1,595 followers
August 11, 2020
A Man Called Ove, is like a breath of fresh air. What a wonderful book. This one is going to endure through the ages. I have always advocated that voice is the “everything,” in writing and Ove is just about all voice. The high level-superior writing craft made the voice work so well. The chapters alternate between past tense and present tense seamlessly and add to the level of craft and storytelling. Another amazing thing about this book is that it’s all about Ove’s grief and depression over the loss of his wife Sofia and yet the author holds the reader entranced with the old curmudgeon as he continues to evolve through the story. There are minor subplots and micro-conflicts that service the plot all the while the evolution of the character services the theme. There is only one thing I did not enjoy about the writing; the over use of adverbs and I wonder if it happened in translation.
This one took a little longer because I wanted to savor the craft, the story, the wonderful method the author utilized. It put me behind on my reader challenge on Goodreads. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
January 27, 2020
oh, the feels! this story is charming, heartwarming and touching. it is not surprising this book has received so much praise and attention.

this is the book that made me fall in love with fredrik backman as a storyteller. he has crafted a story that undeniably tugs at your soul and causes your heart to double in size. it was such a delight to watch ove learn how to love his life and those around him.

this is everything you could want from a feel-good story and more!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Claire Humphrey.
Author 24 books97 followers
September 16, 2014
After glancing at the cover copy, I made a prediction that this book would be about a grumpy old white guy whose life would be cheered up by some combination of the following: a manic pixie dream girl, a singing and dancing person of colour, a plucky person with a disability, and a pet. I was right on all counts, sadly.

This book was so predictable that I made a game out of it in order to get through. It never deviated from its formula, pressing every saccharine button along the way, sliding over heavy topics with almost offensive levity. I can see why some readers might find this predictability and lightness satisfying or comforting, but it wasn't for me at all.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,988 followers
September 12, 2016
This is an excellent heartwarming and humorous book. Basically, a series of short stories about a man called Ove that all combine together into an awesome all-encompassing storyline.

Ove is a grumpy old man who has a cynical approach to everything. But, how he got this way, combined with the relationships he "accidentally" develops lead to a lot of unexpected twists and turns.

One of the things I loved about this book is that seemingly serious situations end up hilarious, while scenes that seem to be completely for comic relief can really pull on your heart strings. I went from laughter to tears on the turn of a dime while I listened to this book.

Also, If you like interesting characters, this is the book for you. Every character is fascinating in their own right. I will miss them all!

Can't say for sure, but I think most people will enjoy those book.
Profile Image for Snotchocheez.
595 reviews335 followers
November 20, 2015
2.5 stars

I've read all my GR friends' wildly divergent reviews of Fredrik Backman's debut novel A Man Called Ove and can find something to agree with in each of them. Nods to those who enjoyed the comedy of errors. Nods to the ailurophiles who despised Ove's treatment of the cat. Nods to those who couldn't get enough of Ove's archetypal curmudgeonly character. Nods to those who found Ove's transformation from hating the world to being a reluctant hero an unlikely and transparently feel-good-y affair.

My assessment: cute but repetitive, not nearly as funny as it needs to be, rendered trite by its obvious similarity to other, better comedic works, slathered with life-lesson goop, and adorned with a way-too-predictable wreath of lingonberries and happy happy joy joy.

Or maybe I'm just as curmudgeonly as Ove, so never mind me.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 18 books1,595 followers
November 13, 2020
A Man Called Ov, is like a breath of fresh air. What a wonderful book. This one is going to endure through the ages. I have always advocated that voice is the “everything,” in writing and Ov is just about all voice. The high level-superior writing craft made the voice work so well. The chapters alternate between past tense and present tense seamlessly and add to the level of craft and storytelling. Another amazing thing about this book is that it’s all about Ov’s grief and depression over the loss of his wife Sofia and yet the author holds the reader entranced with the old curmudgeon as he continues to evolve through the story. There are minor subplots and micro-conflicts that service the plot all the while the evolution of the character services the theme. There is only one thing I did not enjoy about the writing; the over use of adverbs and I wonder if it happened in translation.
This one took a little longer because I wanted to savor the craft, the story, the wonderful method the author utilized. It put me behind on my reader challenge on Goodreads. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.

I thought that I'd posted this review and just found it blank. I added the review. Sorry if there is another out there with the same review. I don't know how it happened.
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,101 reviews7,195 followers
November 5, 2019
I think I’ll be a dissenter on this one, giving it only a ‘3.’

A brief review because there are so many good ones already. Ove is a curmudgeon. His life is lived in black and white. There are rules to follow and if you don’t follow them, look out. He posts warning signs in his suburban townhouse development in Sweden and he bangs on your car window if you bring you vehicle in where they are prohibited. Or if you park illegally. Or if you rest you bike against the tool shed. Or walk your dog on his piece of lawn. He even gets mad at a feral cat trespassing. He can’t understand why any normal person would buy a car other than a Saab. Needless to say, he has no friends and doesn’t want any. He’s particularly adept at battling bureaucrats. It’s one of his few enjoyments in life.


He’s even worse now that has his wife has died. We know this at the beginning of the story. She kept him in line and his love for her was his only purpose in life. Now that she’s gone – and let’s put it this way: he wants to join her on the other side. He brings flowers to the cemetery and talks with her. He makes several attempts to ‘join her’ but each time he gets interrupted by having to take someone in the neighborhood to the hospital.

A newly arrived Iranian family is particularly persistent in trying to befriend him and get him back into society. We know that underneath that prickly exterior, Ove has a heart of gold, which is why he had a wife he could only dream of. Grudgingly, resisting all the way, he takes tiny steps back into society, getting involved with the neighbors’ kids and taking into his home a young man thrown out by his father when the boy revealed he was gay.


So, a good story with humor but I guess I didn’t like all the farcical attempts to join his wife and it got repetitive for me. The book is translated from the Swedish. It was made into a movie in Sweden in 2016. The author has written several other well-regarded novels including Beartown, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and Britt-Marie Was Here.

Photo of a townhouse development in Ystad from
The author from
Profile Image for Mio.
51 reviews
August 1, 2013
I bought this book expecting some easy entertainment, you know, a few giggles here and there. I did not expect to spend almost half an hour crying my eyes out after finishing it - and yet, that's exactly what I did.
Ove is a grumpy old man. He wants things to be "right" and doesn't think twice about the fact that he isn't always perceived as fair - and that always keeping to the truth can actually make people stay away from you.

This book is a journey. For Ove, for Ove's surroundings and for the reader. It is a magnificent tale about true love, Saab and the fact that what you see isn't always what you get.
Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,738 followers
September 28, 2020
I don’t have much to say, other than I absolutely loved this book, from start to finish. If this story doesn’t elicit a variety of emotional responses - specifically love, laughter and tears - then I don’t know what to tell you. Looking forward to reading this author’s other work.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
551 reviews60.5k followers
June 26, 2017
I laughed. I cried.
If you want a contemporary that will warm you up inside this is the one you should read.
It also gave me some strong vibes of the movie Gran Torino!

4 or 5 stars I'm not sure yet!
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,198 reviews3,039 followers
September 26, 2022
Fifty-nine year old Ove is different, grumpy, stuck in his ways and has lost the one person who meant the world to him, his wife. Ove wants to die, because he no longer has a reason to live, once his wife is dead and he is laid off from him job. But there are people who need him and a scrawny homeless cat that needs him and he keeps getting drawn into the lives of his neighbors, who love and care about him despite his determination to fight off that love and caring. This book made me sad but more often it made me smile and laugh and I'm so very glad I read it.

Published July 15, 2014
Profile Image for Pam Gonçalves.
Author 10 books10.7k followers
March 24, 2023
Como é possível amar um personagem tão rabugento? Chorando como se não houvesse amanhã 😭

Releitura 24/03/23: É sempre um prazer reler um livro incrível 💖
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