By: Fredrik Backman
Publication Date: 7/15/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. 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.
“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
Fredrik Backman has created a unique brand, with his own genre and collection of quirky humorous characters, with light-hearted, and deeply moving stories. It all started with the sensational debut, A MAN CALLED OVE, (pronounced OO-va), now a film, recently released in the US, featured in the latest Oct 2016, New York Times article . What an inspiring story! I read the author's latest this weekend, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer his first novella and was hooked! (My favorite Novella of 2016, and my favorite of his books, thus far). I actually have read and reread it several times. It will touch your heart. As usual, I tend to start with the latest newest release and work my way backward. Immediately, following the novella, quickly completed a Backman backlist "binge" weekend read; listening to all his books via audio to catch up. Currently reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Will be catching up with reviews. Each story is unique, deeply moving, and comes with big important life message. All of Backman’s stories are about real people, in different turning points of their lives, most alone and starting over. However, they find a new way to approach life and look differently at those around them. Featured in A MAN CALLED OVE, is a grumpy miserable man, age 59. He loves his Saab, and of course, knows nothing about computers or technology. He is very rigid and wants everyone to follow his rules. He does not like change. His wife, Sonia died earlier and she was the only one who could keep him in line. (A beautiful back story). Life is not worth living without his soul-mate and wants to join her in the afterworld. He misses her. He talks to her constantly. However, a young couple and their children move in next door, plus all sorts of tragic news, including his oldest friend going to a nursing home. His suicide plans have to take a back seat while dealing with one conflict after another. He is set in his ways and wants things his way. From turning off his radiators, canceling his newspaper subscription and even went so far as to anchor a hook into the ceiling to hang himself. But he keeps getting interrupted by his clueless, prying neighbors. He strikes up a friendship with an Iranian immigrant and her two young daughters, who find Ove’s grumpiness endearing. However, underneath this rough exterior, the man is quite generous, with a heart of gold. If you are in the US, some may see some similarities with (2008) Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” character, Walt. Both leading men; grumpy widowers, retired; very rigid, leading a solitary life, miserable lives. Both wives have recently died. They do not fit in today’s world. They despise their neighbors. They both love their cars (Eastwood, 1972 Gran Torino). However, in the end, both leading men, develop unlikely friendships, and they take their neighbors under their wing and become the hero in the end. (Of course, A Man Called Ove, lacks all the violence, included in Grand Torino, and the storylines are totally different). However, fun parallels; to see the hardest of men turn soft in a positive, admirable way. Highly recommend the Swedish blogger’s endearing, charming entire book collection. Can’t wait to see what comes next. (Love the branding, and covers). Can you believe, this is four years later, “A Man Called Ove” has sold more than 2.8 million copies worldwide, making the book one of Sweden’s most popular literary exports since Stieg Larsson’s thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” “Ove” became a blockbuster in Sweden, selling more than 840,000 copies. It was adapted into a successful stage production and an award-winning Swedish feature film, which recently opened in the US. In the US, the book landed on the bestseller list for 18 months. After first published and has remained for 42 weeks! Reprinted 40 times and has sold more than a million copies in print.” This recent post by Writer Ilana sums up Backman’s writing perfectly: "The Magic of Fredrik Backman"
“In his writing, Backman demonstrates a sense of positivity in the world, even while describing desperate circumstances. He covers up horror with humor but allows sadness and pain to have their time on the page as well, once his characters have developed enough of a closeness with each other to be able to experience it together. There is a kind of central thesis to his books in this: pain is something to be shared, something that is far harder to deal with alone and that is often pushed down or ignored or dealt with matter-of-factly when one doesn’t have a support network.”
Well said! Atria definitely has discovered an award-winning much loved Scandinavian Star (the US has embraced). What a success!
"He Wins Hearts on the Page and Now on the Screen!"
The narrator, George Newbern (audiobook) delivered a captivating performance.
About the Author
The writer Fredrik Backman in Stockholm. His book “A Man Called Ove” is among Sweden’s most popular literary exports since “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
Credit Casper Hedberg for The New York Times
Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Read More