A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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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: 9781476738024
1476738025
9781476738017
1476738017
Characteristics: 337 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Tuesday, June 13th, 2:30-4:30pm at the Ferndale Library

Mary K. says: "This heartfelt, hilarious novel was one of my favorite reads in 2015. Ove is a curmudgeon in every sense of the word, and all he really wants is to be left alone. But life (and his no-boundaries neighbors) have other plans for Ove. Don't let this gem of a novel pass you by - y... Read More »

The world doesn’t always suit Ove, who knows how things should be done and can’t suppress his frustration when things don’t go his way. More than anything, Ove really just wants to be left alone. There are many laugh-out-loud moments as Ove begins to encounter the world around him (despite his be... Read More »

Ove is about as grumpy as they come. He's tolerating the rest of the world, but just barely. Then his well-ordered plan is turned upside down by a pregnant neighbor, her inquisitive kids, and a cat who just won't go away. An unexpectedly moving tale of a lovable curmudgeon.


From the critics


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vpazreads Oct 16, 2017

Ove may seem like a grumpy curmudgeon, but a closer look reveals his true character. When a kind neighbor cares enough to really know Ove, he is emboldened to change the lives of those around him.

t
tegan
Sep 29, 2017

Quite enjoyable. A tiny bit sad, which I don't typically go in for, but it was good!

a
ALW7033
Sep 16, 2017

This book surprised me. It was a book club selection. After reading the first couple pages, I thought it was very weird and I wouldn't be able to finish it but I continued it. I finally figured out out what was going on and found the rest of the book fascinating. I really recommend this book.

m
Minerva_Louise
Aug 11, 2017

Ove is the quintessential grumpy old man, buffeted by hard knocks in life, finding comfort by inflicting his version of order over his life and those around him. His love of his deceased wife and his need to do things in the 'right' way cause him to become involved with his new neighbors and an ever expanding group of people, i.e. friends. Loved this book!

JCLKariE Aug 03, 2017

Heartwarming. Touching. Bittersweet. A Man Called Ove is the best book I've read this year. Backman's characterization is perfect. His mix of humor and sadness bring this book to life. I enjoyed every experience this book gave me.

l
LizzieCent
Jul 20, 2017

One of the best books I've read in a long time.

JCLCassandraG Jul 13, 2017

Feel a bit like Ove leaving a 3-star review here but in all of the ways this book was charming and funny, it still felt a bit formulaic. Regardless, it will tug at your heart in all of the ways that sentimental books of this sort do (& against your will for fellow curmudgeons out there!). Backman's humor is what makes this book special and certainly what has cemented its popularity, haphazardly mixing morbid and sweet to combat the inevitable sappiness of a book about how an old grump learns to love again.

x
xiaojunbpl12
Jul 10, 2017

Any reader who's motivated (my only incentive here is book group assignment, not my fav genre choice) to pick up this book will be deeply moved.
I was so overwhelmed by emotions that had little poise left for another book by him. Humor (not just a quirky sense of) abounds, slings tears to luxuriate on one's being, as if anyone can get: No matter how bleak, never hold despair.

s
slang123
Jul 08, 2017

Heartwarming. Sad. Joyful. Funny.
Difficult to not fall in love with this curmudgeon.

j
jahenley320
Jun 21, 2017

I loved this book. The text is understated, just like Ove. If you take the time to think about what you've read, there is depth and great feeling. Not everyone will like it, but give it a try. You might be surprised.

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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.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2016

He believed so strongly in things: justice and fair play and hard work and a world where right just had to be right. Not so one could get a medal or a diploma or a slap on the back for it, but just because that was how it was supposed to be.

As if that was how they built the Colosseum and the pyramids of Giza. Christ, they’d managed to build the Eiffel Tower in 1889, but nowadays one couldn’t come up with the bloody drawings for a one-story house without taking a break for someone to run off and recharge their cell phone. This was a world where one became outdated before one’s time was up.

She loved only abstract things like music and books and strange words. Ove was a man entirely filled with tangible things. He liked screwdrivers and oil filters.

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

“Once upon a time there was a little train,” reads Ove, with all the enthusiasm of someone reciting a tax statement.

j
jimg2000
Sep 25, 2016

“There’s Every human being needs to know what she’s fighting for. That was what they said. And she fought for what was good. For the children she never had. And Ove fought for her. Because that was the only thing in this world he really knew.

She liked talking and Ove liked keeping quiet. Retrospectively, Ove assumed that was what people meant when they said that people were compatible.

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.

The two men look at each other through the locomotive window as if they had just emerged from some apocalyptic desert and now realized that neither of them was the last human being on earth. One is relieved by this insight. And the other disappointed.

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AL_SUSANW 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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