Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.
You probably know the feeling.
You stumble into something unexpectedly beautiful and touching. The world stops. Your chest fills and gently hugs your heart. Your eyes mist.
The sensation only lasts a moment and you wish it would last longer but aren't quite sure you could endure that.
Then the feeling passes. You take a deep breath. And you sit quietly while the world settles around you.
If you recognize such an experience, you know it is a gift. And you will find that kind of gift in A Man Called Ove.
Ove is a curmudgeon who has been worn down by personal tragedy and a world apparently concerned only with bureaucratic niceties. He is ready to give up. But first, he has to teach the new neighbors how to drive that moving van. And then there's that clown at the hospital. And the mangy neighborhood cat. And is everyone a bloody fool? Can't a man get a little peace??!!??
This is a story about character and loss and love and purpose and redemption and, ultimately, victory. It is a beautiful book; the best I have read or listened to this year. Newbern's narration is flawless; Backman's characters are memorable.
You will not find a better use for an audible credit.
435 of 468 people found this review helpful
I absolutely loved this book. There are so many wonderful books, books that have filled my life with emotion, knowledge, or just pure wonderment. I'm not exactly sure why "A Man Called Ove" placed itself in my heart and mind but I will be forever grateful that this book is now a part of me . Reviews are certainly subjective and it is sometimes hard to quantify or justify a personal review but this book touched me in a very meaningful and special way and I hope others can enjoy this book to that same degree!
204 of 223 people found this review helpful
This is a different kind of book-the only similar novel is one I read this year called "The Trustee of the Toolroom". Both are about different men who don't 'do' social very well and have no idea of the kind of impact they have on others.
In Ove's place, this surly and sometimes mean protagonist swears he hates cats but adopts a freezing cat. He meets the one love of his life and she keeps him mostly human until she dies. He begins to plan his own demise but can't seem to accomplish it because people have started to depend on him.
This is a wonderful listen and one of the best I've heard this year.
Narrated by 2 different voices, a man and a woman. I listened to Newberns narration and am tempted to purchase the other narration just to see how the feminine perspective changes the story.
Well worth a credit.
217 of 241 people found this review helpful
This is the first audible book I've gone right back to the beginning when I finished it. I feel a little like Ove about the Audible/Amazon algorithms that suggest books for me... HOW WAS THIS MISSED???? I don't have a large enough vocabulary to explain how much I enjoyed this book. I've already listened to Frederik Backman's next book and it's good, but this one is one of my all time favorites. I can't explain. Just get it.
Highly, highly, highly recommend.
173 of 192 people found this review helpful
It’s been a long time since a book brought me to the verge of tears (okay, it also brought me to tears a few times). And I can’t recall one that did so as often as this one.
The story takes a fascinating and fresh look at human nature. It delivers its messages effectively and efficiently and with genuine emotion. And the narration is great.
A Man Called Ove is the best book I’ve read in quite a while. It's certainly the best book of its type that I've ever read.
I unreservedly recommend it, especially if you are a crusty old bastard or are sympathetically inclined toward crusty old bastards.
41 of 45 people found this review helpful
This book was such an easy and enjoyable listen and so very different. The hours flew by effortlessly and before I knew it, the book was done. How could it be done so fast? I figured I must have skipped some chapters but after checking, I did not miss anything. I guess I was just carried away by the story and lost my sense of time.
Brief description: Curmudgeonly old man has lost his beloved wife and just wants to be left alone to finish out his remaining time on earth, of which he has a plan for, yes, indeedy. Why can't they all just leave him alone!
This book is sad, happy, and funny but always entertaining. I grew to love the characters and miss them all now that I have finished my listen. Sometimes what I need is a feel-good book and this one fits the bill wonderfully. Originally, I was going to give it 4 stars but I am jumping it up to 5. The more I think of it, the better I like it. I will most likely give it a second listen. Great story, fine narration. A winner in my book.
170 of 191 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to A Man Called Ove again? Why?
I've already listened to this book more than once. I love the characters. They feel like family to me - quirky, funny, and multidimensional. This is a book that reminds you of what's extraordinary about the ordinary, and hints at the complex spirit inside the people we meet and think we know. I love the way the author sets the stage of various times and places through the chapter titles.
What other book might you compare A Man Called Ove to and why?
I wish there were another book to compare. This one really stands alone for me.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I found Ove's conversations with his wife moving. Her upbeat spirit and how she loved Ove, despite his curmudgeonly ways, reminded me of those rare, gem-like people you meet a few times in your life who just glow from within.
Any additional comments?
"A Man Called Ove" and "The Good House," though both extremely different from one another, are two of the best books I've listened to in years.
188 of 213 people found this review helpful
We read to feel- to experience life in ways that are unfamiliar to us. We read to find understanding- to validate our emotions and actions. The greatest books allow us these experiences, often without realizing they are happening, until we find ourselves dwelling on the story for days...weeks...a lifetime. A Man Called Ove is a great way to experience and appreciate life.
42 of 47 people found this review helpful
Several years ago Pixar put out an animated gem called “UP”, featuring a lonely grumpy old curmudgeon, Carl Federickson. In the surprisingly emotional prologue to the movie we gain insight into Carl’s past with the love of his life, who he now misses with an emptiness that cannot be filled with the daily routines and mementos that he uses as a shield against the world that he no longer fits. Life takes off when he is befriended against his will by an eager little boy scout.
Take that basic outline, move it to Sweden, exchange the little Asian boy scout with a spunky, pregnant Persian neighbor, throw in an unwanted cat who aloofly adopts Ove, and this wonderful tale is off and running. In the first couple of chapters I wondered if I was gong to be able to develop any sympathy for Ove, who really was very unsympathetic. But as the author took us back to his childhood, as we meet his wonderful father, a kindly employer, and ultimately the woman to whom he would be devoted for his entire adult life, we see what lies beneath the reticence and find the diamond inside the stone. Ove and Parvaneh, his new neighbor, are the most vividly drawn characters, but other supporting cast are well formed as well, introducing us to the community that Ove has tried to shut out, but just can’t ignore. The dialogue sparkles and the prose can catch you by surprise, as when Ove gives a miscreant “a look as dark as a burial at sea”. This book evoked genuine emotion through the characters’ interactions, exemplifying the adage “show, don’t tell”. I had a smile on my face throughout this listen, and laughed out loud, sometimes even through misty eyes. George Newbern’s reading took a few chapters to warm up to, but by the time I was invested in the story, I was also invested in his performance, especially his portrayal of Ove and Parvaneh. I really loved this story and these characters.
184 of 211 people found this review helpful
Ole is 59, and is a grump and hopeless cynic. He hates Volvos and loves his SAAB. He is thrilled by road signs that spell out rules, and doesn't hesitate to point them out to anyone who is even thinking about breaking them. His outer shell like ice... until a pregnant "foreigner" and a half-frozen cat become his neighbors.
This guy is hilarious. From page one, you will either be laughing or shaking your head throughout the novel. I read this book first and liked it, but using a credit to listen to it was a good move. The narration of Newbern truly brings Ole to life, and the book went from good to great for me. Much of the humor is lost without narration.
It is an excellent listen.. the kind that makes you wish you were in a book club so you could discuss the novel and laugh with other readers about Ole'a outlook on life and people, and his un-neighborly neighborhood antics.
Don't miss out on this one!
127 of 152 people found this review helpful