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A Man Called Ove: A Novel Paperback – May 5, 2015
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*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 Library Binding edition.
“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)
"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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Top Customer Reviews
I will admit that I am entirely on the Ove train!
The book is about a man, named Ove, who is the angry neighbor that we all seem to have. He complains about everything, has put up signs around his neighborhood with rules about what should and shouldn't be done, and feels there is a proper place for everything. He is not a friendly guy to say the least.
Into his life walks or rather drives a family who are to be his new neighbors. He doesn't bother to get to know their names and calls them the pregnant one and the lanky one. After an accident with the lanky one, Ove is forced to help this family, complaining the entire time.
Throughout the book Ove also speaks to his wife, complaining about the neighbors, the rule breakers, and how much he misses her (very minor spoiler). During interludes within the narrative, we read about how Ove became Ove. I will say by the end of the book, a bunch of dust was flying around the room and some got into my eyes.
The first thing to write is this book is funny. Ove is quite the character and how he treats people is hysterical. He just doesn't care what he says or how he says it. He simply wants order in his world and has lived that way for all of his life. The way he expresses himself becomes incredibly funny.
It is also a tragic story. Backman interweaves the two (funny and tragic) quite well and doesn't make it overly heartwarming. This could have easily become a book with the sentiment that we don't know people's past, so don't judge them, but it isn't. Ove is an ass in his past too and sometimes with reason. Backman keeps it level with just enough to make the reader fall for Ove.
The great thing is this is a book that pretty much anyone and everyone can (and will) enjoy. I recommended this one for book clubs and discussion groups. Grandmas will like this as well as middle aged men. Ove is simply a good book.
I gave this one 5 stars.
Going against everything I believe in, I felt it was appropriate to give this book a rating of flawless, and this is why:
Until this very moment of my life I have never read a better book. I read often, I average about a book a week.
I am difficult to please and I scrutinize even the most minute of things. Essentially, I am impossible to please.
It is always possible that tomorrow I might just read a book that is even better than "A Man Called Ove," but I haven't yet. This book has every dimension you could ask for. The characters are simple enough to relate to, but complex enough to keep you from being bored. There is not a single emotion I did not feel at some point within it's pages. It is funny at times (even the laugh out loud kind), it is powerfully sad, bittersweet and authentic enough to feel anger and disrespect.
If at the end of a book I do not close the back cover, breathe a deep sigh and genuinely reflect on what just transpired, I have wasted my time. With this book, I had to stop at several different points just to collect myself. I have yet to find a better book and cannot envision what one would look like...
So five stars it is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was funny and entertaining. It made me laugh and feel sad all at the same time.