A Man Called Ove
Goodreads ratings
4.36 / 5

"A Man Called Ove" Summary

By Fredrik Backman

fiction | 337 pages | Published in NaN

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. 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 must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?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.


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A grumpy old man finds unexpected friendship and purpose in his quirky neighborhood.


"A Man Called Ove" is a heartwarming and humorous novel by Fredrik Backman that tells the story of Ove, a grumpy and solitary man who finds unexpected friendship and connection with the people around him. Set in Sweden, the novel explores themes of love, community, and the impact one person can have on the lives of others.

Brief Synopsis

The novel is set in a small residential area in Sweden, where the protagonist, Ove, lives. Ove is a grumpy old man who is grieving the loss of his beloved wife, Sonja. He is a stickler for rules and order and has a tendency to scold his neighbors for their perceived incompetence. However, as the story unfolds, we learn about Ove's past and the experiences that have shaped him into the person he is today. Ove's life takes an unexpected turn when new neighbors, Parvaneh and Patrick, and a stray cat, enter his life, leading to a series of events that challenge Ove's solitary existence and ultimately change him for the better.

Main Events

ChapterMain Events
1-5Ove's strict routine and interactions with neighbors
6-10Flashbacks to Ove's past and the love story with Sonja
11-15Ove's interactions with Parvaneh and Patrick
16-20Ove's attempts to help people around him and confront his own loneliness
21-25Resolving conflicts with neighbors and forming unexpected friendships

Main Characters


A grumpy and solitary man who is grieving the loss of his wife. Despite his tough exterior, Ove has a kind heart and a strong sense of justice.


Ove's spirited and determined neighbor who refuses to be intimidated by Ove's grumpiness. She sees past Ove's tough exterior and reaches out to him.


Ove's beloved late wife, who continues to have a profound influence on Ove even after her passing. She is portrayed as a compassionate and understanding person.


Parvaneh's husband who forms an unlikely friendship with Ove and helps him in unexpected ways.

Themes and Insights

Love and Loss

The novel explores the profound impact of love and loss on an individual's life. Ove's grief over the loss of his wife is a central theme, and the novel delves into the ways in which love continues to shape and influence Ove's actions and decisions.

Community and Connection

Through Ove's interactions with his neighbors, the novel highlights the importance of community and human connection. It emphasizes the idea that people need each other, even if they don't always realize it.

Redemption and Second Chances

Ove's journey towards redemption and self-discovery is a key theme in the novel. It portrays the idea that it's never too late to change, and that unexpected circumstances and relationships can offer second chances in life.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Man Called Ove" is a poignant and uplifting novel that reminds readers of the transformative power of human connection and compassion. It encourages readers to look beyond surface appearances and embrace the potential for unexpected friendships and redemption.


Fredrik Backman's "A Man Called Ove" is a beautifully crafted novel that touches on themes of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit. Through the character of Ove, the novel delivers a powerful message about the impact of kindness and connection in people's lives. It is a heartwarming and thought-provoking read that resonates with readers long after they have turned the final page.

A Man Called Ove FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'A Man Called Ove'?

    A Man Called Ove is a fiction novel that falls into the genres of contemporary fiction and humor.

  2. Who is the author of 'A Man Called Ove'?

    The author of 'A Man Called Ove' is Fredrik Backman, a Swedish author.

  3. What is the book 'A Man Called Ove' about?

    The book 'A Man Called Ove' follows the story of a grumpy yet lovable old man named Ove, who finds new purpose in life through unexpected friendships and experiences.

  4. Is 'A Man Called Ove' part of a series?

    No, 'A Man Called Ove' is a standalone novel and is not part of a series.

  5. Is 'A Man Called Ove' a heartwarming story?

    Yes, 'A Man Called Ove' is known for its heartwarming and moving narrative, despite initially featuring a grumpy protagonist.

  6. Are there any film adaptations of 'A Man Called Ove'?

    Yes, the book 'A Man Called Ove' was adapted into a Swedish film in 2015, directed by Hannes Holm.

  7. What age group is 'A Man Called Ove' suitable for?

    The book 'A Man Called Ove' is suitable for adult readers and is often enjoyed by both young and older audiences.