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Book Review: "A Man Called Ove"

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Fredrik Backman's "A Man Called Ove"

Fredrik Backman's "A Man Called Ove"

Loss and Transformation

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is a beautiful story about the transformations we go through in life and how different events in our life affect us, shape us, and make us who we are today. It is a magnificent tale of true love and human values.


A Man Called Ove


Fredrik Backman

Original Title

En man som heter Ove


July 15th 2014 by Atria Books (first published August 27th 2012)

Page Count




For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.

— Fredrik Backman, "A Man Called Ove"


Ove is a grumpy, old man and feels that he has no reason to live. After his beloved wife Sonja's death, he is lonely and wants to kill himself. Ove functions within a strict routine and set of beliefs where there is no room for deviation. During his morning walk, he never fails to check if any cars have been stolen from his residential lane.He has even planned for his impending death—all the bills paid, newspaper subscription cancelled, his will kept on the tabletop, due arrangements made for his beloved car and the walls of the room covered with sheets so that they don't get dirty.

His set routine is interrupted when Parvaneh—a very pregnant Iranian refugee—and her family move next door. Her arrival brings a refreshing change to Ove's lonely existence and provides him with a reason to live again. At the heart of the novel remains a tragic and struggling childhood and a love story that will touch the core of your heart.

People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.

— Fredrik Backman, "A Man Called Ove"

My Review

Fredrik Backman builds the character of Ove piece by piece. You are introduced to a disgruntled Ove who mutters curses under his breath every time he faces a change in his routine. With every chapter, you are pushed closer to the true character beneath the tough exterior of Ove. As the story traverses into Ove’s childhood, you understand why he is the kind of man who does more and talks little. And you can understand his love for Sonja because the vivacious Sonja was the only one who truly understood and cherished Ove.

The book is full of humour. Ove’s imagined conversations with Ernest, and the cat are hilarious and make for the best portions of the novel. Both Ove and Ernest are inescapable companions turning to each other out of loneliness and eventually saving each other.

The novel brings to the fore the loneliness and futility of modern life. Ove’s obsession for orderliness is a call to an unsullied life when everyone had a set role to play and there was little regard for appearances. Ove's story is of dealing with the loss of a loved one, of heaving with grief, of rediscovery and allowing others to fill the empty gaps. In spite of all his faults, Ove had a very large heart, quite literally.

The book is simply hilarious, insightful, heartwarming and just plain awesome. This is a tale that makes you appreciate life! It seems quite simple at first but there is more depth to this book as the story unfolds. And as the book ended, I was so thankful I had the opportunity to read this. You will too. All in all, this is a great happy-emotional-humorous-sad book, and I highly recommend it!

My Rating: 4.5/5

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'.

— Fredrik Backman, "A Man Called Ove"

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About The Author

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish columnist, blogger and best-selling writer. He is the author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown (2016), and Us Against You. His books are published in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.


A Man Called Ove (Film)

A Man Called Ove is a Swedish film written and directed by Hannes Holm, and is based on author Fredrik Backman's 2012 book of the same name. Rolf Lassgård plays the lead role.The film was nominated for six awards at the 51st Guldbagge Awards in 2016 and it won in two categories.It was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Makeup and Hairstyling categories at the 89th Academy Awards.

© 2018 Shaloo Walia


Shaloo Walia (author) from India on May 11, 2019:

@Imran I am sure you will like it.

Imran khan from Mumbai on May 09, 2019:

I am so going to read it.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on December 05, 2018:

I haven't seen the movie but the book is awesome.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 04, 2018:


I've got to watch out for this book or movie. My Swedish is rusty, but the movie looks awesome.

manatita44 from london on November 07, 2018:

Oh Yes! have some Divali poems here and almost forgot. It is one of my favourite celebrations. Happy Divali!!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 07, 2018:

A most wonderful tale indeed, Manatita...wish you and your family a very happy Diwali!!

manatita44 from london on November 07, 2018:

I like how the story flows … how you ran with it … how the author allowed it to unfold. Beautiful! No need to say that so much of life is like that if we can appreciate it. A most wonderful tale. Kudos to you and to Fredrik Backman. Om Shanti!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 06, 2018:

Thanks Bill! This is one of the best books I have read this year. Much recommended!!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2018:

I love the review and I suspect I would love the book. Thank you for the tip. I just might read this one.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 06, 2018:

Thanks John! It's indeed a lovely book. I am sure you will love it too!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on November 06, 2018:

Shaloo, this sounds like a truly beautiful book. I need to read it. Wonderful review.

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