A Man Called Ove (novel)

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A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove (novel).jpg
First edition (Swedish)
AuthorFredrik Backman
Original titleEn man som heter Ove
PublisherForum (Swedish)
Washington Square Press (US)
Publication date
2012 Sweden
2013 US
Media typePrint
Pages368 pp (US)
347 pp (SWE)

A Man Called Ove (original title in Swedish: En man som heter Ove) is a 2012 novel by the Swedish columnist, blogger, and writer Fredrik Backman.[1] The novel was published in English in 2013. The English version reached the New York Times Best Seller list 18 months after it was published and stayed on the list for 42 weeks.[2]

In January 2015, a stage version of the book, starring Johan Rheborg in the leading role as Ove, premiered in Stockholm.[3] Additionally, it was adapted as a film of the same name, which premiered on December 25, 2015, with Rolf Lassgård in the leading role.[4]

Plot summary[edit]

"Ove is 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 neighbour from hell.” However, 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 heart-warming 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."

–promotional blurb on U.S. edition cover jacket [5]


  • Ove — A grumpy, 59-year-old man who has recently been forced to retire
  • Sonja — Ove's deceased wife
  • Parvaneh — Ove's neighbour, a pregnant woman of Iranian descent, and a mother of two
  • Patrick — Parvaneh's husband
  • Rune — Ove's former friend who has become a nemesis and neighbour, he now has Alzheimer's
  • Anita — Rune's wife
  • Adrian — The neighbourhood mailman
  • Jimmy — The overweight neighbour


Overall, A Man Called Ove was received well, with the review aggregator website, Bookmarks, giving the book a "rave" review.[6] Kirkus Reviews gave a positive review of the novel, describing how, "the back story chapters have a simple, fablelike quality, while the current-day chapters are episodic and, at times, hysterically funny. In both instances, the narration can veer toward the preachy or overly pat, but wry descriptions, excellent pacing and the juxtaposition of Ove’s attitude with his deeds add plenty of punch to balance out any pathos."[7]

Film and TV adaptations[edit]

An English-language film adaptation has also been announced, with Tom Hanks set to star and produce.[8]


In July 2014, Dreamscape Media released an audiobook version of this book, read in English by the American actor George Newbern.[9]


  1. ^ "LIBRIS - En man som heter Ove /". Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  2. ^ Alter, Alexandra (2016-10-28). "The Man Behind 'A Man Called Ove,' Sweden's Latest Hit Novel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  3. ^ "TeaterStockholm.se » Din guide i teaterdjungeln". Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  4. ^ "En man som heter Ove (2015)". MovieZine. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  5. ^ "A Man Called Ove". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Bookmark | Book Marks". Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  7. ^ A MAN CALLED OVE | Kirkus Reviews.
  8. ^ "Tom Hanks to Star In, Produce 'A Man Called Ove' Movie". Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  9. ^ Backman, Fredrik; Newbern, George (2014-07-29). A Man Called Ove (MP3 Una ed.). Dreamscape Media. ISBN 9781629239842. ASIN 1629239844.

External links[edit]