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Summary

Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He isn't as young as he used to be. He drives a Saab. He points at people he doesn't like the look of. He is described by those around his as 'the neighbour from hell'.Every morning he makes his inspection rounds of the local streets. He moves bicycles and checks the contents of recycling bins, even though it's been years since he was fired as Chairman of the Residents' Association in a vicious 'coup d'état'.

But behind the surly pedant there is a story, and a sadness. And when on a November morning his new (foreign) neighbours in the terraced house opposite accidentally flatten Ove's letterbox, it sets off a comical and heart-warming tale of unexpected friendship which will change one man - and one community - from their very foundations. Quirky and bittersweet, heartbreaking yet outrageously funny, A Man Called Ove is a life-affirming fable for our times.

©2014 Fredrik Backman (P)2014 Hodder & Stoughton

What listeners say about A Man Called Ove

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All you need is Ove

Ove is one of those characters you wish existed in real life. This is one of those books that you want to never end. Highly recommended if you want to read something funny, sad but most of all uplifting.

33 people found this helpful

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Ove's grumpiness becomes loveable

Ove ( aka señor Saab) makes me laugh from the start. At first he's just funny. I know grumpy old men like him - mentioning no names.

But then gradually I become privy to Ove's personal history and his character and his values. And so I start to understand him, and even agree with and - dare I say - respect his crankiness!

And even as someone who is not remotely interested in cars, I was fascinated to learn that there are differences (but acceptable differences) between a man who drives a Saab and a man who drives a Volvo. But BMW? How very dare you? And let's not even mention Renault.

I laughed out loud. I felt for him. I cried.

Ove doesn't compromise his principles - no matter what happens, he follows the rules. On Ove's watch, no car is allowed to enter the residential area - even if it is an ambulance. And even if it is coming for him.

The story of Ove has been compared to Allan's in The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. But Ove and Allan are completely different. The characters are both Swedish. Yes. And the structures of their stories rely heavily on flashbacks to help us understand them - because they are both older main characters, I suppose. But Allan is the opposite of Ove. He seems to saunter through life without a care in the world. Ove is annoyed about everything! His story remains down to earth and tugs at the heartstrings.

23 people found this helpful

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BEST BOOK EVER!!!!

Fantastic characters, well written, heartwarming story. Stick with the first few chapters as I wasn't sure if it was "my thing" but I loved it!!

28 people found this helpful

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Want to recommend to everyone!

What made the experience of listening to A Man Called Ove the most enjoyable?

Joan Walker's performance compliments the style of the book perfectly.

What did you like best about this story?

Loved the way the author slowly builds the character of Ove up. Opening up his story gradually so he becomes less of the "grumpy old man" and into the neighbor you'd love to have

Have you listened to any of Joan Walker’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This is first of Joan Walker's performances I've heard but think she done an amazing job narrating this book and her style reminds me very much of Victoria Wood.

Any additional comments?

This book will delight and surprise you. Guaranteed.

13 people found this helpful

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A wonderful. heartwarming, funny book

I heard about this on the radio, and when I started listening, I thought I'd made a mistake. Ove is cranky. He is difficult. But listen a little longer, and you can't help but get engrossed in his life, the people he "adopts" (whether they want to be adopted or not), his relationship with his wife (so sad) and so much more.

This is a story about a man living to die, to join his wife, but he just can't seem to get around to dying, thanks to all the weird and wonderful people who come into his life, usually unexpectedly.

I loved this so much that I bought 7 copies for friends and family.

From a narration point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the book (important for me as I know only too well how an unappealing narrator can ruin an otherwise good book).

17 people found this helpful

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Brilliant, funny, sad

Where does A Man Called Ove rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

at the top.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ove.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

All the characters are well drawn but with such a lightness of touch. This book can wring so many emotions out of you without ever being cloying..

7 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

What other book might you compare A Man Called Ove to, and why?

Haven't read anything to compare. All of human life is here, brilliantly described and read.

Have you listened to any of Joan Walker’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No but I will be looking for more now.

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed this book as much as any other I have read. I know these people in fact I'm married to one. Human nature is so well portraid and the amusing side of life brought out to keep us smiling.

9 people found this helpful

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I am married to Ove

I feel like I am married to a man like Ove. Angry choleric on the outside, soft and terribly romantic on the inside.
Lovely and heart warming story about a man who after his wife's death, struggles to find a reason to live other than keeping the order in his housing community and having to help his useless new neighbours.

The character of Ove is being uncovered in small steps, while the story of his past and presence unfolds.

Nice Sunday listen

12 people found this helpful

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Caricaturish

Any additional comments?

Very unpersonable main character...like a very bad Victor Meldrew. Only two hours in and I've had enough.... listening to anymore would only hurt my brain.

2 people found this helpful

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For fans of the 100-Year-Old-Man and Harold Fry

Any additional comments?

'A Man Called Ove' is another one of those The-Unlikely-Pilgrimage-of-Harold-Fry, The-Hundred-Year-Old-Man-Who-Climbed-Out-of-the-Window-and-Disappeared and The-Universe-Versus-Alex-Woods-books which are really easy to listen to, humorous, sometimes uplifting and make you think about life a little more. The lesson to learn from Ove's life is that humans are not always as they seem to be on the outside. Ove might give the impression to be a grumpy old man, but you can't dislike him. Behind his moody facade there's a man whom it might take a little while to let people into his heart, but who's also going to be a friend for life once he did.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Jasmine
  • 14-08-14

Perfect book

Would you listen to A Man Called Ove again? Why?

Yes. It was one of those books that I never wanted to finish. And when finished, I missed Ove and knew it would be hard to find a book I enjoyed as much.

What did you like best about this story?

Ove is a composite of people we all have known. He is an ethical curmudgeon but we are ever hopeful for some sign of compassion from him.

Have you listened to any of Joan Walker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I will now look for other books she narrates. She has become one of my favorite narrators.

If you could take any character from A Man Called Ove out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Pavana would be an interesting character to have dinner with.

Any additional comments?

I listened to this book as I walked in the morning. There were times I laughed aloud and a couple times when I was teary-eyed. When I got home, after my walks, my husband would ask, "So, what's new with Ove today?"

6 people found this helpful

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  • Don L.
  • 19-09-14

5 Stars is not enough

This is one of those rare books you wish would never come to an end. I loved it and will recommend it unhesitatingly. Joan Walker did a fabulous job. I look forward to more from Fredrik Backman.

Don L.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dorothy Lo
  • 05-10-21

Brilliant and sweet book

When I first started the book, I was almost going to give it up, as it felt like the first chapter was going nowhere. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author brings all the characters to life, and they’re so lovable. The ending was so sweet I couldn’t help but cry (even though I was in a public area, and had tears stream down). Totally recommend this book

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cezara
  • 14-11-20

Excellent


Loved every moment of it, and I will definitely be recommending it to all of my friends.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Leeanne
  • 04-05-22

My current bedtime story

it's just a well written story. I listen to this book regularly because I love it.

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  • M Francis
  • 09-02-22

Riveting,poignant and heart-warming

A Man Called Ove will go down as one of those books that forever stays with you. Exeptionally written and drags you into Ove's world with ease . Just read it!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-01-22

Charming

A comforting read that left me feeling contemplative. Have to Backman extra points for making me chuckle out loud a few times too.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-01-22

Funny and heart-warming

Truly enjoyed the story and the narration. Understated humour and surprising twists. Haven't enjoyed anything this much in a long while.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lomeraniel
  • 12-01-22

It missed the mark

Ove is a lonely old man who has lost his wife and now he can’t find a meaning to his existence. A new family arrives in the neighborhood and Ove’s life will be turned upside down.

There are some hard topics in this book. That, coupled with an atypical main character, are the winning points of A Man Called Ove. It reminded me a bit of As Good As It Gets (movie) but without the romantic part, or A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. Very soon the reader knows the intentions behind Ove’s actions, and most of what happens in the first chapters is heartbreaking. I loved the premises of this story, and it had the right ingredients to be a five-star book, but something failed on its execution for me. I know many people love this book, so my opinion is not a popular one. The main setback for me was that I didn’t feel the character were polished enough. They didn’t seem like real people to me. They were poorly developed, and what we saw from them was just too perfect. Given the message this book tries to deliver, I expected it to be more powerful. I am not sure if what is missing is due to the translation or just because the characters could have done with some more development. I remember I loved A Spot of Bother, but I just feel lukewarm about A Man Called Ove.

The narration was another reason why this book didn’t completely work for me. The story is told in third person, and every chapter tells a different aspect about Ove. I found Joan Walker’s narration too patronizing. Sometimes I had the feeling she was reading a book to little children. It could have been on purpose, but the topics in the book delivered in this way didn’t sit well with me. The technical aspects of the audio production were well done, but the interpretation was just off for me, and the characters sounded all quite similar. Maybe I just didn’t get it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-12-21

Simple and smooth story - can make you emotional

Simple and realistic story of Ove. Absolutely enjoyed listening to this book. Narrator did really well with her voice modulations for different characters and specially the voice of Ove. Thanks Audible.