A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Man Called Ove

Plot Summary Part 3

Parvaneh brings in a sick cat and insists Ove adopts it. Ove, who Parvaneh has gradually trained to be as obedient as her cuckold husband, obeys. At first Ove hates the cat but gradually comes to like it. It's very trite, predictable, and highly cliché. This is supposed to show us that Ove is gradually regaining the ability to receive and show affection, at least to an animal.

We learn how Ove and Rune became friends. They talked about lawn mowers. Just like with Sonja's dad, the emotionally constipated men were only able to become friends when they talked about mundane topics.

When Ove learns that the "council", the local government, is going to put Rune in some kind of nursing home, Ove feels humiliated that he is powerless to stop it. You may wonder, why does he have so much hatred for the "council". Well, when Sonja died Ove felt powerless too. We learn later that when Sonja was dying that the "council" wanted to take her away too, and that's probably why Ove hates the council.

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We flashback again to when Sonja was alive. We learn how Ove volunteers to help a man build a fence. He helps build a wall of a church. He helped free a horse that got stuck in the mud. Ove may be emotionally constipated, but he was very friendly while Sonja was alive. When Sonja puts his hand on her belly to feel their baby, it causes Ove to want to go to the bathroom and urinate (not making this up). He still can't express himself emotionally. But at least he can go to the bathroom, which is a lot more important.

Back in the present, a pesky journalist keeps wanting to interview Ove about how he saved the life of the man who had fainted on the tracks. Ove refuses to be interviewed. He's like a saint who feels he is too unworthy to be recognized for good deeds. It's in total contrast to the rest of his judgmental, unfriendly character.

He even locks the reporter in his garage. Her continued persistence is more than a little unrealistic.

Parvaneh demands Ove teach her to drive. She gives him an excuse about her husband having a broken arm and being unable to teach her because of it, but we all know now that Ove is whipped and will do whatever she says. Parvaneh is just continuing to try to find things for Ove to do so he won't kill himself.

By the way, Parvaneh is a real estate agent. Who has no driver's license. Totally, totally unbelievable.

Ove decides to start shoveling snow off of other people's property. He's becoming a saint, or a sucker, depending on your point of view.

After shoveling, Ove decides to try to kill himself for the fourth time. He looks at a bottle of pills, but then the sounds of the cat needing help interrupts him.

Anita, Rune's husband, tells Ove for about the 20th time that the council is going to take Rune away at some point in the future. Ove must feel bad about it, because he offers to fix her radiators. That's how Ove expresses emotions, by offering to do things for people.

One of Sonja's former students comes over and tells Ove how great she was. Ove responds by offering to help him fix his bike.  Once again, when Ove gets tender feelings he expresses it by offering to help others. In the process we see him making new emotional contacts--with Rune, with Anita, and now with Adrian, the student. Adrian is a boy, apparently, despite the girlish name,

Ove starts to teach Parvaneh how to drive. She gets frustrated and starts crying. Ove doesn't understand why. He's emotionally blocked. She explains that she's pregnant and under stress. When a car behind them honks its horn, Ove, who feels admiration for Parvaneh now, gets out of his car and berates the honker.  Ove even gives Parvaneh an inspirational speech telling her that she can in fact learn how to drive. For Ove to convey an emotional, uplifting message to someone else is a sign of substantial progress.

Ove, well on his way to sainthood, repairs the heating system at the local bakery.

We get another flashback to the time just before Sonja's death. We see Ove explicitly becoming angry "with the world" for Sonja's cancer.  We are finally explicitly told this is the reason Ove became angry.

Ove tries to kill himself for the fifth time. If he's enjoying helping people out I'm not sure why he keeps trying to kill himself. This time he thinks about shooting himself with a rifle but once again Parvaneh interrupts him.

Once again someone from the council appears to try to take Rune. Ove blocks the councilmember's car with Parvaneh's trailer.

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