A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Man Called Ove


Ove: Ove is an old, bitter man. From the start he's not very communicative, and a fanatical control freak, and, frankly, more than a little emotionally constipated. He lives in a cooperative community and he always roams around and patrols to make sure everyone is following the rules. People should only drive in certain places, people should only leave their bikes in certain places, and so on. Everything in his home is arranged and orderly. Every time he tries to kill himself he makes sure his affairs are in order. He's also emotionally constipated, having trouble expressing feelings or showing empathy for others. Even worse, however, is that Ove is depressed that his wife, Sonja, has died. This depression leads him to try and kill himself multiple times, and to be mean towards others. Also I think this book takes place in Sweden because Ove mentions "Kronars" which is the currency of Sweden, although it also might be Danish instead. But the book certainly could not take place in Zimbabwe or Ecuador because there are exactly zero people named Ove in Zimbabwe and Ecuador.

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Rune: Run is Ove's neighbor who Ove at times loves and at times hates. They squabbled over rules for their cooperative community. Rune is very sick with Alzheimer's and the local government keeps threatening throughout the book to take him away and put him in some kind of nursing home. Ove hates the government for trying to do that.

Sonja: Sonja was Ove's wife. Ove is silent and grim but Sonja is happy and expressive. We have absolutely no idea why she liked him other than the way he sat silently while she talked. They met on a train. Sonja got pregnant with Ove's child, so they must have had sex at least once, but then there was a bus accident and Sonja got an unintended abortion.  Then Sonja got cancer and died, making Ove want to kill himself.

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