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A Man Called Ove: A Novel Paperback – May 5, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 3,211 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* At 59, Ove is a grumble Gus of the first degree. Rules are made to be followed, signs are meant to be obeyed, and don’t even get him started about computers and mobile phones. In truth, Ove has been this way his whole life, but he’s gotten worse in the last four years since his wife, Sonia, died, taking with her all the color in a world Ove sees as black-and-white. Ove has decided life without Sonia is not worth living and plans to join her in the next world. But a young couple and their two children (a third is on the way) move in next door, his oldest friend and most feared enemy is about to be forcibly removed to a nursing home, and a street-scarred cat insinuates itself into his life. Suddenly, Ove’s suicide plans get delayed as he helps solve neighborly crises large and small. Though Ove’s dark mission mitigates any treacly upstaging by animals and small children, readers seeking feel-good tales with a message will rave about the rantings of this solitary old man with a singular outlook. 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. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“A charming debut…You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life. You’ll also want to move to Scandinavia, where everything’s cuter.” (People)

“Even the most serious reader of fiction needs light relief, and for that afternoon when all you want is charm, this is the perfect book." (San Francisco Chronicle)

“You will laugh, you will cry, as his heartbreaking story unfolds through the diverse cast of characters that enter his life, all uninvited. You will never look at the grumpy people who come into your life in quite the same way. A very memorable read."
(San Diego Union Tribune, Best Books of 2015)

"An inspiring affirmation of love for life and acceptance of people for their essence and individual quirks. A Man Called Ove is a perfect selection for book clubs. It's well written and replete with universal concerns. It lacks violence and profanity, is life-affirming and relationship-driven. The book is bittersweet, tender, often wickedly humorous and almost certain to elicit tears. I contentedly wept my way through a box of tissues when I first read the novel and again when I savored it for a second time.” (BookBrowse.com)

"A light hearted, deeply moving novel about a grumpy but loveable curmudgeon who finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. This quirky debut is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the impact one life has on countless others—and an absolute delight." (CBS Local)

"A Man Called Ove is exquisite. The lyrical language is the confetti thrown liberally throughout this celebration-of-life story, adding sparkle and color to an already spectacular party. Backman's characters feel so authentic that readers will likely find analogues living in their own neighborhoods." (Shelf Awareness (starred review))

"Readers seeking feel-good tales with a message will rave about the rantings of this solitary old man with a singular outlook. 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)

“A funny crowd-pleaser that serves up laughs to accompany a thoughtful reflection on loss and love… The author writes with winning charm.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“This charming debut novel by Backman should find a ready audience with English-language readers… hysterically funny… wry descriptions, excellent pacing… In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden,generous heart.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Poignant and unpredictable, Backman’s book is filled with many twists and turns, as well as enjoyable characters and humorous situations." (Columbia Tribune (Missouri))

"There are characters who amuse us, and stories that touch us. But this character and his story do even more: A Man Called Ove makes us think about who we are and how we want to live our lives. A Man Called Ove seems deceptively simple at the start, yet Frederik Backman packs a lifetime's worth of hilarity and heartbreak into this novel. Even the most crusty curmudgeon will love Ove!" (Lois Leveen, author of Juliet's Nurse and The Secrets of Mary Bowser)

“One of the most moving novels I have read this year. I defy anyone to read this book and look at a quiet withdrawn person the same way ever again.” (Cayacosta Reviews)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (May 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476738025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476738024
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Suncoast TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a gem of a feel-good debut novel about A MAN CALLED OVE by Swedish author and blogger Fredrik Backman. It will make you laugh and make you cry and you will remember Ove for a long time.

Some would call Ove a curmudgeon, a lovely word meaning a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person. His wife called him the most inflexible man in the world - he borders on being obsessive compulsive but is generally a grumpy man who doesn't tolerate fools and likes things to be done that way he wants them. While many think that he is just a rude and grumpy man, at heart you will find out that he is one of the kindest persons you will ever know.

Ove is a 59 years old widower who has just been arbitrarily retired after 30 years in the same job. His world now revolves around his home and neighbourhood housing complex where he rules the roost making sure that all local rules and regulations are followed. He is very lonely since his wife died, he quarrelled with his best friend and neighbour years ago and rarely has contact with his neighbours.

Ove's world is one of anger and sadness. One day a new neighbour accidentally flattens Ove's mailbox driving in an area where vehicles are prohibited. This starts a very amusing, heartwarming and frequently very sad story as Ove's rigidly structured world is disrupted by unexpected friendship from Parvaneh, a vivacious small and very pregnant Iranian woman who has moved in next door with her Swedish husband Patrick and two girls. Parvaneh is perhaps the only person who can take on Ove directly and win, and starts to change his life for the better.

We also go back to how Ove met his vivacious and loving wife Sonja who was the direct opposite of Ove.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My sister and I listened to this book from Audible and I am now reading his other book. Such a sweet, well written story of despair and hope.Having just lost a husband less than a year ago, I can certainly relate to his sorrow and feelings of worthlessness - being old and useless. What a blessing this book as been to me.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Scando literature seems to be going in two directions. Either it is extremely dark, peopled with evil people doing terrible things (ref Steig Larsson), or it's about loveable eccentrics living quirky lives (ref Jonas Johansson). This book falls firmly in the second camp. It's about Ove, a Jack Nicholson style curmudgeon living in a Swedish housing estate who spends his days policing the residential laws. After his wife dies, Ove sees little point in carrying on, but every time he tries to end his life he keeps getting interrupted by one of his neighbours.

This is an easy to read and genuinely comedic novel, but it's not all froth as the story of Ove's life and the various setbacks he overcame is also woven into it. My main criticism is that none of the characters feel like or behave like real people. Even the cat behaves totally unlike any real cat. It's a charming and likeable book, one that I'd recommend but it doesn't have the depth to burrow permanently under my skin.
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Format: Kindle Edition
My Take:
5 Stars!
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Oh! The PRAISE you see above is so true! This is a truly remarkable story! I HIGHLY suggest reading this! It gets you in the heart. It's different in the sense that this is a MAN who is the main character, and he's just a little different! You can't help but to love him and all of his quirks, even though he's the meanest man you may ever meet, but then again perhaps this is what draws us to this book so much. Forget The Rosie Project! THIS is the book to be reading!
Young Ove follows in the footsteps of his father as he lost him in his very early teens, but his father left such a positive impression upon him, he follows what he was taught. His father didn't really seem to have a backbone, yet then again he preferred to avoid any type of altercation whatsoever because that is just how a real man acts and sets examples by - not by being a bully in return. He just wants to do what a 'man' does is right. Ove learned from his father, but sometimes your heart just reaches out so far for him because when he should be standing up for himself, he doesn't do it. You would think he is a pushover, but he isn't. He is just like his father. He is doing what a real man would do, or so he thinks.
One time in his youth, shortly after his father passed away, he took over his father's job for several years until he comes into contact with an adult male bully, and because he did not stand up for himself, being a man, he lost his job. That was so wrong! But Ove, being a man who does not bully back, believed in this. This is just how life works. (No Ove! Stand up for yourself! Is how I was cheering him on! Yes, I was talking and yelling at this book for Ove!
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By Vicky on September 14, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book got some amazing reviews and it certainly is well-written. It just didn't move me in the way the author intended. At least I think Backman's intent was to tell a story of transformation. A story about a recently retired curmudgeon who has also lost his wife and so has no reasons for living and who, by the end of the novel, has done a complete turn-around. I have just finished another novel where the protagonist is a recently retired man who has also lost much, and that book, to me, is far more credible. It's maybe unfair to make comparisons, and if I had read this book first I may have given it four stars. And it's interesting because the premise of this story is much more down-to-earth than the other.
I enjoy curmudgeon stories, and they're usually funny and heartwarming and rarely real, (think Grumpy Old Men) and this is the sticking point of this story. It never feels honest to me and I think the author intended it to be real. Ove has decided that life without his wife isn't worth living. He's going to kill himself, and he tries a number of times but he keeps getting interrupted. I think this is supposed to be funny, but it missed the mark for me.
I like how Backman weaves in the stories of Ove and Sonja, and describes their early lives and how they met. The whole emphasis on the white shirts, though, was a bit overdone.
Ove is a self-appointed do-righter who makes it his life's purpose to see that everyone else follows the rules. There isn't anything likable about him. He's bitter, rude, angry--someone who most people would avoid like the plague. He meets the new neighbors when Patrick backs a trailer over his mailbox. This infuriates Ove, not because his mailbox is ruined, but because "motor vehicles aren't allowed in this area!
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