A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman ~ 2012

Fredrik Backman's debut novel is about unexpected friendship, love and the importance of surrounding yourself with the proper tools, centering on an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors.

It is a thoughtful insight of the profound impact one life has on others.

Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (May 5, 2015)
Publication: Published July 15th 2014 by Atria Books (first published August 27th 2012)
Pages: 337
ISBN-10: 1476738025
ISBN-13: 978-1476738024
Language: English
Translation copyright © 2014 by Henning Koch
Interior design: Paul Dippolito
Jacket design: Alan Dingman
Jacket photographs: Getty and Shutterstock
Author photograher: Linnea Jonasson Bernholm/Appendix Fotografi

a Book Clubbin' read

5 Stars

Fredrik Backman
Wow.  One of the best reads I've read in quite the while.

Ove is 59.
He drives a Saab.

People said he was bitter.  Maybe they were right, but, he is the most grumpiest man you will meet.  And with good cause.

Told in alternating chapters, Fredrik Backman's bestselling and humerous debut novel, tells of a grumpy yet loveable man having his self-inflicted solitary world being invaded by 'clueless' neighbors.

Ove is a man who has a short fuse and yells at his 'incompetent' neighbors, does not like Cat Annoyance, and there is no way he will pay a three kronor surcharge.  This lonely old grump who even punches Beppo the volunteer hospital clown for trying to trick him over a five kronor coin is actually hilarious.  After you understand why he does what he does, you'll put a grin on your face for sure.

I personally loved this guy, a man of strict routine.  He gets up everyday, almost for four decades at the same time and makes his inspection rounds through the neighborhood.  As the chairman of the Residents Association, he makes sure there are no cars parked where they're not supposed to park, no vandalism through the night, checks the trash room, checks the traffic signs giving the metal poles a good kick - he checks the status of all things with a good kick.  Even checks door handles by tugging on them three times.  Principled.

Six months after his wife’s death, he’s planning to commit suicide.  Sonja was the world to him.  People said Ove saw the world in black & white.  But she was color.  All the color he had.  It's Tuesday night and he's cancelled his newspaper subscription, switched off the radiators, and turned off the lights.  And tomorrow he's putting up that hook.

But if anyone had asked, he would have told them that he never lived before he met her.  And not after either. 

Suicide and Ove - they didn't mix, time and time again.  The reasons why were actually quite practical and the reasoning behind his thinking was so logical, you grin as you go right along with him.  From bicycles, to radiators, to trips to the hospital, to having to do the most basic things as back up trailers, to even saving a gent's life - these were all hilarious scenes.  Ove just wants to die in peace.  Is that really too much to ask?

The neighborhood is filled with vivid characters, some new and some old, that gave the story depth.  Life is changing around him and when an Iranian immigrant, Parvaneh and her husband Patrick and their two daughter's ages three and seven, move in next door - life definitely had changed.

Her children smile at Ove's grumpiness through the story and I smiled right along with them.
Maybe, in some way the children saw this old bellyacher having a heart of gold.  The pictures they drew for him were very heartfelt, folks.

Here, the story unfolds into a heartwarming and humorous satire tale of a sadness, heartfelt memories, and a love that will always be.  You will be glad to have met Ove.

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Here's a reference I found:

Mr. Backman got the idea for “Ove” five years ago, when he was freelancing for the Swedish magazine Cafe.  A college dropout, he once worked as a forklift driver at a food warehouse, taking night and weekend shifts so that he could write during the day.

A colleague at Cafe wrote a blog post for their website about seeing a man named Ove explode with rage while buying tickets at an art museum, until his wife intervened.

“My wife read the blog post and said, ‘This is what life is like with you,’” Mr. Backman said.  “I’m not very socially competent.  I’m not great at talking to people.  My wife tends to say, your volume is always at 1 or 11, never in between.”

Mr. Backman started writing blog posts for Cafe about his own pet peeves and outbursts, under the heading, “I Am a Man Called Ove.”   Mr. Backman realized that he had the blueprint for a compelling fictional character, and the novel began to take shape.  “There’s a lot of me in him,” he said of Ove.  “When we get angry, it’s about a principle, and we get angry because people don’t understand why we’re angry.”

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How do you say Ove?

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A Man Called Ove

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 Here's where you can get your fingers on A Man Called Ove:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $12.99 ~ Hardcover $15.57 ~ Paperback $9.74 USD
  •  Barnes & Noble ~ NOOK $12.99 ~ Hardcover $16.40 ~ Paperback $10.66 USD

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About the author  ~

Connect with Fredrik

Fredrik Backman, a blogger and columnist, is the New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE and MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY. 

Both were number one bestsellers in his native Sweden and around the world, and are being published in more than thirty five territories. His latest novel is BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE. 

He lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.

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