A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Book - 2014
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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: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, [2014]
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781410472922
Branch Call Number: Lg Print Fiction Bac
Characteristics: 477 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print
Additional Contributors: Koch, Henning 1962-


From Library Staff

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. Capricorns can be stubborn, cold, and difficult to read, but given time and enough prodding, ... Read More »

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Dec 01, 2019

It made me cry at the end, it's sad to think that someone so methodically tries to think of ways to kill themselves but I was happy that things changed. I wasn't really interested in this book originally but so many patrons returned it to the library I figured why not try to read it?

Nov 10, 2019

Recommended by EJ

Gr33nbird Nov 07, 2019

A Man Called Ove explores themes of intergenerational connection, community, and aging. Backman's writing is full of fresh and unexpected descriptions that are often hilarious. His characters display the rich depth of everyday people. Prepare to get a range of feels.

Aug 25, 2019

A terribly depressed, bitter, and mean "old man" (59!) unrealistically and unbelievably changes over the course of a few weeks because a couple with a pregnant woman, hapless husband and cute kids moves in next door, a young gay man needs him, a former friend has Alzheimer's, and he helps a youth his dead wife knew fix a bike. Assumedly "heartwarming", but to me it was saccharine and insipid -- very Lifetime movie of the week. And I understand that most readers found it very funny. Multiple suicide attempts? Hilarious! Significant untreated mental illness, coupled with grief and loss? What a laugh! Wow. I really do not get the love for this book.

Jul 15, 2019

Loved it. It is a slow revelation of one man's life and personality. Blended with funny quirky characters. Tragedy and comedy.

Jul 11, 2019

I had read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry first and absolutely loved it, so when I started this one I didn't think I would like it as much but I did enjoy it and I absolutely loved the ending. I am looking forward to reading his other books soon!

May 30, 2019

This is a lovely book. I couldn't put it down. I laughed and cried through all of it. Very heartwarming. And it especially makes you realize in this day and age that even if we look different, eat different, talk different, at the heart of it we are all the same.

May 17, 2019


May 10, 2019

It was a charming and wonderful read, however, it wasn’t exactly refreshing, was it? It’s not exactly new and we knew where this story would end up, so the question was how it happens. I liked it a great deal but, I usually reserve five stars for books that aren’t so familiar, and syrupy.

May 06, 2019

Just could not get into this book; yet others rave about it. Just goes to show how we all have different tastes in our reading travels.

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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

Jul 21, 2017

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say,” said Ove - p. 78

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

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.”

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. "

Apr 14, 2017

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

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.

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.

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.

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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May 30, 2019

Grumpy old man who has lost his wife decides he wants to join her. But everytime he tries to, he gets sucked into helping his new neighbors, and all sorts of other random people....people who are too incompetent and unable to DIY things like he and folks from old time can/could. This book has a heartwarming story. People you meet and avoid because you think you have nothing in common and can never connect to...you'd be surprised that sometimes you can.

ArapahoeSusanW Oct 20, 2016

Grumpy old man with a heart of gold, I loved this novel and found it quite heartwarming.

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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