A Man Called Ove (2014)

by Fredrik Bachman

It will hardly be giving anything away to say that beneath his curmudgeonly exterior, Ove has a heart of gold. Swedish writer Fredrik Bachman unfolds Ove’s story slowly, taking time to reveal why he became so ornery. Suffice it to say that Ove has had more than his share of bad luck.

Now a lonely widower, he decides to commit suicide but keeps bungling his attempts. That hardly sounds like a happy story, but Backman offers up plenty of laughs to balance the sadness, especially as Ove is unwillingly pulled into the life of his annoying new neighbors. Spunky Parvaneh, the mother of the family next door, refuses to leave him alone.

A Man Called Ove isn’t great literature, but it’s a world-of-mouth hit. Initially ignored by major reviewers, it was promoted by independent bookstores and took off. It was on the paperback bestseller list for more than a year. The author is a Swedish columnist and blogger.


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