Don’t wait; meet Ove

Book review: A Man Called Ove

Doug Warne
KKNW Scandinavian Hour

A Man Called Ove

The novel A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman would be a terrific Christmas present for the right person.

The last couple of years I’ve been hearing references to this man called Ove, but I hadn’t taken the time to look him up. He was easy to find and available in book form or even as a movie. Why, oh, why had I not allowed myself the pleasure of getting to know a man called Ove?

He isn’t the most polite person, nor does he have the most attractive manners or mannerisms. In fact, I think at one point he drove many of his neighbors mad and sent the local officials of his Swedish village into outer space.

You will laugh and even cry a little as you get to know Ove, and his heartwarming story unfolds with a cast of supporting characters you have probably met before—if you are lucky. Fredrik Backman, the author of A Man Called Ove, is a New York Times best selling author who lives in Stockholm. I fully intend to not miss out on the characters he has created in his three novels, which have been published in more than 40 countries.

On first meeting him, one might agree that Ove is the grumpiest man in town, whose obsessive-compulsive behavior has a negative effect on his neighbors and neighborhood. That is, until the events of the day make a change. Probably not a change in him, as he continues to do as he always did, but in a new relationship with his special neighbors.

While serving up a portrait of people we might have known, Backman provides us with pleasing humor and at the same time a closer look at loss and love and neighborliness.

Sorry, Ove, that I came so late to the party. But at least now I made it and count you among the friends I’ve made in books.
The novel A Man Called Ove would be a terrific Christmas present for the right person. But read it before you give it away. You may find you need to buy another copy.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 15, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784.4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.