A Man Called Ove ~

I don’t often recommend books on this blog – and I have to say that my reading lately has been predominantly of the spiritual nature, particularly Paul Selig’s books…

However, on a long plane trip sometimes that spiritual stuff can get a little heavy, so on the trip over to the US I began reading a book called A MAN CALLED OVE, written by Fredrik Backman.

I’d read an article about the book in the New York Times, in which it said the book was the most popular book out of Sweden since the GIRL IN THE DRAGON TATTOO series. 

Here is that article:

Unlike the DRAGON TATTOO series though, A MAN CALLED OVE is a gentle and whimsical book about a stoic man who tries to commit suicide after his wife dies. Every time he tries though, life gets in the way and prevents him from doing so.

It’s funny, beautifully written, and very emotional.

It’s been a huge success world wide, and some of you might already be familiar with the book – I always come at these things late! – but for those of you who aren’t aware of it, I can highly recommend it. It would make a great Christmas present too.

Here is an excerpt – about how he met his wife…

A MAN CALLED OVE – written by Fredrik Backman

“She had a golden brooch pinned to her front, in which the sunlight reflected hypnotically through the train window. It was half past six in the morning, Ove had just clocked off his shift and was actually supposed to be taking the train home. But then he saw her on the platform with all her rich auburn hair and her blue eyes and all her effervescent laughter. And he got back on the train.

Of course he didn’t quite know himself why he was doing it. He had never been spontaneous before in his life. But when he saw her it was as if something malfunctioned. He convinced one of the conductors to lend him his spare pair of trousers and shirt, so he didn’t have to look like a train cleaner, and then Ove went to sit by Sonja. It was the single best decision he would ever make.

He didn’t know what he was going to say. But he had hardly had time to sink into the seat before she turned to him cheerfully, smiled warmly and said ‘hello’. And he found he was able to say ‘hello’ back to her without any significant complications. And when she saw that he was looking at the pile of books she had in her lap, she tilted them slightly so he could read their titles. Ove only understood about half the words.

‘You like reading?’ she asked him brightly. Ove shook his head with some insecurity, but it didn’t seem to concern her very much. She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.

He had never heard anything quite as amazing as that voice. She talked as if she was continuously on the verge of breaking into giggles. And when she giggled she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter. He didn’t quite know what he should say to avoid seeming uneducated and stupid, but it proved to be less of a problem than he had thought. She liked talking and Ove liked keeping quiet. Retrospectively, Ove assumed that was what people meant when they said that people were compatible.”


9 thoughts on “A Man Called Ove ~

  1. Sounds like a wonderful book Bill – really engaging. A great recommendation – thank you.
    Love and Camino hugs to you and Jen. xoxo


    • Hey Jenny – you’d enjoy the book, I’m sure. It will make you laugh. Just did a 2 x 30min podcast with Dan. He’s a nice guy, and he asked some very smart questions. Thank you for putting him onto me! Hope all is well there. Jen and I are exhausted at the moment, and we go to Germany tomorrow! A week of scouting before the tour starts. And it’s COLD there! haha. Whinge whinge whinge. I love my life! Big hugs, and with love, Bill


  2. Hi Bill. Loved the book!, the movie is also well done if you don’t mind subtitles. Another book I loved that is similar, whimsical and farfetched, but clever is The 100 Year old Man that Climbed out the Window and Disappeared.(that movie was not quite as good however.)
    Its good to get to read for entertainment!
    Sometimes they are able to touch something in you as well.
    Hope your trip is great!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Jennifer


    • Hey Kathey – yes I heard there was a film made of the book. And I’ve heard about the 100 year old man book. I’ll check it out. I hope you and Michael and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!


  3. As it happens, Bill, I have heard of the book (Scandinavian connection? …) but have not yet acted on the suggestion, so might just get to the library to check it out!! Hope you and Jennifer are still enjoying your travels, meeting up with all your old and new friends, clocking up experiences again 🙂


    • Hi Britta – I think you would enjoy the book. It will appeal to your wicked sense of humour I’m sure! We’re off to Germany tomorrow – been a whirlwind, this US part of the trip – but got some great stuff for the film! Take care, and big big hugs! With love, Bill


  4. Dear Bill, just wrote a comment (yes had heard of it, but no have not read it yet), but that seems to have disappeared into the ether.
    I came back here, as I wanted to recommend another book: The Memory Code by Lynne Kelly. The blurb on the front of the book says: ‘The traditional Aboriginal memory technique that unlocks the secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and ancient monuments the world over.’ and inside (from Iain Davidson, Emeritus Professor, University of New England, no less: ‘…the notion that memories were or are encoded in spaces that can be marked by natural or built elements and applies that exploration to some of the remarkable physical monuments of the last ten thousand years. …’- intriguing, eh?!


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