Book Review

A Man Called Ove


This is one of my two favorite books of 2016 – largely, I think, because it was so unusual, both in structure and characters, and so, so well done.

The main character, Ove (pronounced Oova), is a curmudgeonly 59-year-old man with a keen sense of morals and an equally keen need to be blunt. He takes some getting used to; I confess to being impatient with him at first. Then the author began to layer him with life experiences, many through flashbacks and added a supporting cast filled with equally as unusual but increasingly captivating people, and I was hooked.

I listened to the audiobook version. The reader was amazing, but he had incredible material to work with. Since he pronounced “Ove” Oova, I take that as gospel. Why? When my own books are about to be taped, the audio producer sends me a list of pronunciation questions, and I provide the answers. I, therefore, assume that “Oova” is how the author himself says it. No better source than that.

FYI, Frederik Backman is 35, Swedish, and sounds, according to the article I read, to be as unconventional as his Ove. I look forward to reading more of his books.

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