A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Paperback - 2015
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There is something about Ove. At first sight, he is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets. But isn't it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?.
Publisher: London :, Sceptre,, 2015
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781444775815
9781473616349
Branch Call Number: FIC BAC
Characteristics: 295 pages ; 20 cm

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p
poodlegirl
May 02, 2018

Loved this book the FIRST time I read it. And, still loved it this time...my second. I'd forgotten some of the charming little incidents in the book so a second read was just as enjoyable. BTW, I hear Tom Hanks is scheduled to do the American version movie. I can't imagine it being as good as the Swedish version (which was XL)...but, TH's has never made a bad movie!

j
joyseystreetmama
Apr 26, 2018

How could you help yourself from loving this adorable man? This book was heart warming!

g
gnomenut
Mar 31, 2018

The funniest book I have ever read. Period.

l
Linyarai
Mar 06, 2018

I read this for the "a book by a Scandinavian author" part of my 2018 reading challenge. This book really surprised me, I wasn't super into the first quarter/third of it, but once he meets the cat I found it really picks up. I thought it was really funny and touching, and of course I cried at the end.

j
jordanbatty
Nov 17, 2017

This took my by surprise. I had a hard time believing I would come to enjoy this story - it seemed too contrived, predictable and sappy. Once I got past my own cynicism, thank you to the writing and pace of the second half of the book, I finally accepted Ove into my heart and was shedding tears by the last pages.

A fun, heart-opening novel that truly shows you - life can get better after grief.

g
GrandCru
Oct 30, 2017

Excellent. I laughed. I cried. Looking forward to the movie being made starring Tom Hanks.

d
darcyhudjik
Oct 10, 2017

An awesome book about a widower's metamorphosis. I definitely recommend it.

m
m0k1m3
Sep 26, 2017

I think everything has been said - just adding my voice to the chorus..... I loved this so much! First it irritated me (as I'm a grouchy, stuck-in-time, old person too), then worried me that it would be a spirit-deadening, "realistic", story - and I would have to stop reading it --- which I just hate. It's also by a man - which I don't read too much anymore. A friend recommended it and I will, forever, bless her for that kindness. For me, this is one of the most heart-opening stories I have ever read. It has come to live in me now and I'm the better for it. Hope you'll give it a try - it's a gem.

q
Quietday
Sep 13, 2017

This is a sweet story. Give it time if you are feeling like it's slow as I did until just past half way. I came to enjoy the characters and appreciate the way they intertwined in one another's lives. It is reminiscent of other books such as The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or Major Pettigrew's Last stand, to give you an idea.

r
rab1953
Sep 01, 2017

I suppose this would be called a comic novel. A lot of things happen that readers can laugh at. But humour relies on context and individual reaction, and so did my response to this book.
I started read it in preparation for a trip to Scandinavia. I thought that it would show everyday life in contemporary Sweden in an entertaining way, and for that it was good. Set among a group of neighbours in a modern suburb, it describes directly and inferentially a small community and the minor or major issues that come up. Immigration, queer kids, bureaucratic obstruction, new technology are set against an underlying story of love and death in a cold climate. It shows a modern Sweden as part of 20th century Euro-American culture, with a few specific Nordic quirks. It contains some passages of compassionate writing and empathy that are quite lovely, such as the poignant story of the relationship between Ove and his neighbour, expressed in the history of their car ownership.
But I didn’t like Fredrik Backman’s writing. Essentially, this is a story about a grumpy old guy with a heart of gold. It’s a sentimental cliché. It’s a well-done sentimental cliché with some modernizing touches, and I can see why it’s popular. But for me it seldom rises above the cliché.
And it is undermined by incidents that are over-done or that don’t ring true. The uniform white-shirted, heartless bureaucrats, for example, are cartoons. While it might be true that many employees providing government services are rule-bound and unfeeling, they are all human beings with individual interests and frustrations. It doesn’t make Ove’s story any more sympathetic to make them all automatons. And the story of the gay guy who comes to stay in Ove’s house because his father can’t deal with his homosexuality seems completely contrived, the kind of thing that someone would imagine when they don’t know any gay men’s coming out stories. Worse than contrived, it’s a plot device to bring a little more poignancy and humor into the story line. And then there are the cute kids who get through Ove’s grumpiness. And the stray cat that adopts Ove and lets him show his hidden warmth. Even, perhaps especially, his saintly wife. It’s all too much.
Backman also reduces the text to very simple, elemental declarative sentences or half sentences, presumably to represent Ove’s way of thinking, which is also very elemental. This is effective in making a reader see how Ove thinks, but after a few chapters, it’s trite.
What's critically annoying here is the mix of psychological insight presented in simple language offset by contrived sentimentality in an exaggerated style that is supposed to represent Ove's straightforward thinking. Perhaps if a few of the chapters were presented as short stories, this would be an interesting character study. But it is not enlightening when it turns him into a caricature or when character development relies on revelations that are little more than sentimental hooks.
Perhaps I’m being as narrow-minded and judgemental as Ove. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t much like the book. But for me, it’s the worst kind of popular sentimentality, and it is not saved by the few insightful passages.

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m
Magicworld
Aug 21, 2015

“And time is a curious thing. Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person's life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. memories, perhaps.”

m
Magicworld
Aug 21, 2015

“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. "

m
Magicworld
Aug 21, 2015

“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.”

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rrmueller
Jun 10, 2016

Fantastic! This booked grabbed me so completely that by the end I was hoping and wishing it would go on and on. Good for a book club.

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