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A Man Called Ove
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A man called Ove > Question #1: First Impressions of Ove

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 01, 2015 09:50AM) (new)

“I don’t like him! He’s such a curmudgeon.” This was the common refrain from many after reading the first few chapters of A Man Called Ove. What is, or what was, your first impression of Ove, and of the novel in general?

Remember: if you cannot get your hands on a print copy of this title, please check out the book via the library's Hoopla link ... you can listen to the audio version (which is pretty darned good) anytime, anywhere for free!

https://www.hoopladigital.com/search?...


message 2: by Ashley (new)

Ashley V (ashleeeyyy88) So far, I've read the first two chapters. Ove seems like a judgemental, crotchety old man, maybe even a bit lonely. He has his own traditional way of doing things and as far as he's concerned, everything else is wrong. He's the kind of guy who if the neighbourhood kids are playing a game and the ball ends up in his yard, it's gone forever because no one would bother to disturb him and get an earful of a lecture.

To me, he seems far older than he is (59, as it was stated) and isn't entirely content with his disposition. He keeps saying things along the lines of it wasn't supposed to be this way, etc. It's making me very curious to know exactly what transpired to make him this way. My interest is definitely piqued!


Allison | 396 comments Ashley wrote: "So far, I've read the first two chapters. Ove seems like a judgemental, crotchety old man, maybe even a bit lonely. He has his own traditional way of doing things and as far as he's concerned, ever..."

Ashley, I agree completely! In fact, I have that kind of older man in my new neighbourhood (the kind that intimidates the heck out of kids and adults alike ... boy, I hope he's not reading this!) ... and is Ove really only 59? ... I must've missed that detail. Sweden must have an earlier retirement age - no surprise! I actually had the same impression, i.e., that he was much older.


Edward Hughes (guin36) | 5 comments I would say that I agree with everyone that he appears to be older than 59. As someone who owned and loved my Saab 93, he struck me as someone I could relate to in many ways!

The fact that he thinks he is always right comes from being a doer instead of a person who hires others to get his work done. Living in Oakville, I would expect not many Ove like characters to exist.

Great book and can't wait to see what others think as they get further into the book.


message 5: by Rocio (new)

Rocio (rociofarrell) | 64 comments I have to say that i have enjoyed this reading so much, I find it witty, a great sense of humour, i have laughed out loud several times. The book is very symbolic as well. As for Ove, as you read or listen through the book you most likely will like him and learn to accept him as he is. He obviously has OCD and a certain level of autism, but he is so loyal and his sense of what is right goes beyond believe. I am about to finish listening to the audiobook, which I borrowed through the Library from Hoopla. The narrator is fantastic, he puts voices for the different characters making the novel so vivid. I can't wait to see the comments and reactions from all of you as you advance in the book.


message 6: by Rocio (new)

Rocio (rociofarrell) | 64 comments Edward wrote: "I would say that I agree with everyone that he appears to be older than 59. As someone who owned and loved my Saab 93, he struck me as someone I could relate to in many ways!

The fact that he thi..."


That is interesting Edward because I also feel close to the Saab 93 since my parents had one for many years and they bought it for my recommendation. I used to have a group of friends from Sweeden when I lived in California and they all drove Saabs, a few of them drove Volvos, it is very entertaining the way that Ove gets all worked up by what kind of car people own. Also About Ove being a doer, he really is and he is so good at everything that he sets himself to do, except of at what he is trying to do all through the book :)


Allison | 396 comments Edward wrote: "I would say that I agree with everyone that he appears to be older than 59. As someone who owned and loved my Saab 93, he struck me as someone I could relate to in many ways!

The fact that he thi..."


Edward, I too am in the Saab camp, having been a proud owner/driver of one almost 20 years ago. And it is wonderful to hear a male perspective on Ove ... I very much like your insight into his know-it-all persona because he is a doer. I agree! My father also "knows everything" and he is a "doer" as well. But, I have never thought of it this way and I think it will soften my opinion/annoyance of him (my father, that is) when he is next telling me how I should be doing something. :)


Susan | 130 comments I loved Ove from the start of the book and my empathy / support increased as the book progressed. (Will not reveal anything for those who are still reading.) As someone else mentioned, he made me laugh out loud at some of the situations and habits. Mostly, my mental image of Ove is similar to my late father-in-law, who may have been Ove's clone from the Ottawa Valley.


Allison | 396 comments Rocio wrote: "I have to say that i have enjoyed this reading so much, I find it witty, a great sense of humour, i have laughed out loud several times. The book is very symbolic as well. As for Ove, as you read o..."

I agree, Rocio. Ove is probably on the autistic spectrum. He has the characteristic naïvite about him, born from missing a lot of nuances in the world that surrounds him ... he takes things literally, obviously does not like change and struggles with it, and he is awkward (to say the least) with people.


Basia | 5 comments The first chapter, when Ove tries to buy the O-PAD, cracked me up! I found his grumpiness and intolerance for people’s stupidity hilarious and interesting. The next chapters made me count my blessings that he is not my neighbor :-) What I loved about this novel is that with each chapter we learn a new story about a man called Ove who is judgmental, angry and suspicious – but there is a reason for it. He hates bureaucracy, doesn’t trust credit card companies, hates hospitals and so on, however there is always a reason why he became the person we met in the first chapter.


Allison | 396 comments Susan wrote: "I loved Ove from the start of the book and my empathy / support increased as the book progressed. (Will not reveal anything for those who are still reading.) As someone else mentioned, he made me l..."

I confess that I did *not* love Ove in the opening segments of this book as you did, Susan. But I certainly grew to love him and feel a great deal of empathy for him. It's wonderful that you have identified your late father-in-law in this character ... such understanding is an added bonus in character readings and I will be looking forward to all of your insights into this one.


Allison | 396 comments Basia wrote: "The first chapter, when Ove tries to buy the O-PAD, cracked me up! I found his grumpiness and intolerance for people’s stupidity hilarious and interesting. The next chapters made me count my blessi..."

Hi Basia, I loved the gradual reveal of Ove's true character as well. He is like an onion: with every layer peeled, we gain a better understanding of why he is the man that he has become.


Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
I fell in love with the novel from that very first scene, as the frustration rose between Ove and the Best Buy sales rep. It made me laugh out loud. I found Ove both lovable and infuriating in equal measure, because like some others in this thread, Ove really reminded me of someone in my own life - my late grandpa. I had two grandpas pass away in 2013-2014; one was angelically sweet, kind, and forgiving up-front, and the other was covered in a shell of crabbiness. I agree with others that there was such delight in getting to slowly peel back the layers of his life and personality. We often miss out on opportunities to learn about older loved ones, especially if they are unapproachable, so there was something cathartic and safe in being able to learn about Ove without having to deal with him in real life! He's a complicated guy, but I'm a big fan.


message 14: by Rocio (new)

Rocio (rociofarrell) | 64 comments Ah! I finished the book yesterday afternoon. In a period of less than ten minutes I went from laughing out loud to having tears rolling down and then back to laugh again. I fell in love with Ove. What a "big" heart he has. The other characters are very interesting as well, in particular "Pervana" (sorry about the spelling is due to me listening to the audiobook, so that is my best guess) she is such an interesting lady.


Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Rocio wrote: "Ah! I finished the book yesterday afternoon. In a period of less than ten minutes I went from laughing out loud to having tears rolling down and then back to laugh again. I fell in love with Ove. W..."
Rocio, you summed up how I felt at the end of the book perfectly, and it's why I tell everyone I know to read this book.

But this question is about my first impressions, not my last, so I should talk about that. Everyone else has expressed it so well. I felt some annoyance at Ove in the first few chapters but also found it humorous. I thought, (to the author), "OK, you've made your point, he's a grouch, we can move on." But the book just kept getting better and better, and page by page I got to know Ove better and came to love him. And I loved Parvaneh, too. (Spelling as per the printed book, which I bought after listening to the audio as I wanted my own copy to keep).


Maureen B. | 212 comments A bit late to the discussion but, thanks to the Oakville Reads giveaway, I'm on board again. Ove definitely belongs in the curmudgeon camp, in my view. Having known my share, it took me a while to warm to him and, even then, his rudeness irritated me no end. He was fortunate in having a creator like Backman, who obviously knows what a wonderful source of humour there is in anger.


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