“A Man Called Ove” Summary,Themes,Characters & Synopsis [Fredrik Backman]

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TitleA Man Called Ove
AuthorFredrik Backman
Publication Year2012
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Humor, Drama
SettingSuburban neighborhood in Sweden
ThemesLoneliness, friendship, community, loss, change,
aging, second chances
Writing StyleHeartfelt, witty, emotional, alternating between
present-day events and flashbacks
ReceptionThe book received positive reviews for its
character development, humor, and emotional depth.
AwardsBest Swedish Book of the Year (2013) by the Swedish
Book Retailers Association
AdaptationsThe book was adapted into a successful film in
2015, directed by Hannes Holm.


The main characters of the novel “A Man Called Ove” are:

  1. Ove – He’s the main character, an old man who’s very grumpy and likes things to be orderly. He lost his wife and is lonely, but he’s also kind in his own way.
  2. Sonja – Ove’s wife who passed away. She was loving and brought out the best in Ove.
  3. Parvaneh – Ove’s new neighbor, a young and lively woman who becomes friends with Ove and helps him open up.
  4. Patrick – Parvaneh’s husband. He’s friendly and tries to understand Ove, even though Ove is not very easy to get along with.
  5. Anita – Ove’s old friend from the past. She’s caring and understanding, and Ove values her friendship.
  6. Rune – Ove’s grumpy neighbor, with whom Ove has a complicated history. They share a tense relationship.
  7. Tom – Ove’s old friend and coworker. He’s cheerful and brings a bit of lightness to Ove’s life.
  8. Jimmy – Another neighbor and friend. He’s kind-hearted and helps Ove when he’s in need.
  9. Mirsad – Ove’s friend, a young man who is gay. Ove supports him when he faces discrimination.
  10. Ove’s Dad – Shaped Ove’s values and personality. Ove remembers him often.
  11. Adrian and Isabella – Ove’s neighbors who live across the street. Ove has a soft spot for them.


The themes of the novel “A Man Called Ove” are:

  1. Friendship – The story explores the power of unexpected connections and how they can transform a person’s life.
  2. Community – The importance of coming together as a community to support one another, especially in times of need.
  3. Second Chances – The novel portrays the idea that it’s never too late to change, heal, and find a new purpose in life.
  4. Loss and Grief – Dealing with the pain of losing loved ones and finding ways to cope and move forward.
  5. Humanity and Empathy – Revealing the hidden depths and kindness within even the grumpiest of individuals.
  6. Aging – Exploring the challenges and joys of growing older, as well as the changing dynamics it brings.
  7. Tradition and Change – Balancing the value of tradition with the necessity of adapting to a changing world.
  8. Isolation – The impact of isolation and loneliness on a person’s mental and emotional well-being.
  9. Love – Examining various forms of love, from romantic relationships to friendships, and how they shape our lives.
  10. Self-Discovery – The journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, as characters learn more about themselves through their interactions and experiences.


“A Man Called Ove” is about a grumpy man named Ove who has lost his wife and feels lonely. He’s not very friendly and likes things to be just right.

But when new neighbors move in and accidentally disrupt his routines, they start to become friends. Through their interactions, Ove’s kindness and warmth gradually come to the surface.

The story shows how friendships and unexpected connections can bring positive changes to even the most reserved people.


This book is about an elderly guy named Ove, who, at first glance, appears to be your usual grouchy grandfather. He strolls about the village’s grounds where his residence is in the mornings. He becomes enraged by any disarray, whether an unattended cigarette butt, a car parked incorrectly, or toys left all over the sandbox. When his neighbors or bystanders do anything wrong, he always finds something wrong with them.

Ove has been doing the same job for 43 years and is 59. The day has arrived when two recent hires give him “personal growth” work. Ove understands that they only want to terminate him, but he has no interest in taking any classes. He gets up & departs because of this. After the passing of his loving wife, life no longer makes sense to him, and he no longer wants to live. 

Ove puts on a costume sits on a stool, and prepares to hang himself, but bad luck prevents him. His new neighbors, who recently moved into the house across the street, cannot park their trailer because of the items inside—ove moves to park the automobile without standing up and by removing the loop. With two girls already under their belts, Patrick & Parvaneh are expecting a third child.

Ove visits his wife’s grave every day and offers her flowers. He assures her that they will get to know one another shortly. Ove attempts suicide once more, but the doorbell unexpectedly rings. His new neighbors give him a big supper as a thank you and ask him to lend them a ladder. Ove then attempts to hang himself, but the rope snaps.

Ove enters the garage with the intent of poisoning himself with exhaust fumes inside the cabin of his beloved vehicle. He recalls his early years, their first encounter with his dear Sonja, their romantic date, and their terrible holiday, but Parvaneh is pounding on the door of Ove’s garage. She begs Ove to drive her to the hospital when her husband, Patrick, trips and falls down the stairs. Once more, Ove survives. 

Ove travels to the train station the next day to jump beneath the train. The man next to him passes out and hits the rails. The train is coming, yet people must record the situation on their cell phones’ cameras. The injured guy is raised onto the platform by Ove, but he stays attached to the rails. He suddenly abandons this dreadful idea after recalling when a train nearly hit him while playing.

There remain a lot of amusing and fascinating details about Ove’s life in the book. The family of Rune and Anita was friendly with him and his wife. Ove and Rune consistently maintained order in their hamlet, although they frequently disagreed over which automobile was superior. One day Parvaneh and Ove discover a cat beside his home, but Parvaneh cannot bring the cat home due to an allergy. As a result, the animal stays alive with Ove. Sometimes, the older man finds out that Mirsad’s father expelled him from the home when he came out as gay. Ove undoubtedly gives him temporary sanctuary at Mirsad’s request.

Social workers from the government arrive at Anita’s home once to take Rune to the nursing home; however, Anita will keep them from getting in. If necessary, her neighbors will assist her in caring for her husband. Journalist Lena looked into the financial records of the firm the official works for. She has evidence that he is a fraudster.

If social workers leave immediately and stop bothering these individuals, Lena won’t make it public. This concept is supported by every villager, who forbids social workers from taking Rune to the nursing home. As a result, social care personnel are forced to leave the area since there is no other option. When Ove speaks to his friend, Rune grins in return.

Parvaneh comments that Ove’s house is not snow-cleared one winter morning. When she & her husband arrive at Ove’s home, they discover that the older man passed away peacefully in bed. Sonja and Ove are together at last.


What is the moral of A Man Called Ove?

The moral of “A Man Called Ove” is that kindness, connection, and understanding can transform even the grumpiest person and bring out the best in them.

Why is man called Ove so popular?

Ove is popular because of its touching story about a grumpy man who finds purpose through unexpected friendships, showing the power of human connection and redemption.

What is the main conflict in A Man Called Ove?

The main conflict in “A Man Called Ove” is about a grumpy and isolated man named Ove who wants to end his life after his wife’s death, but his plans are constantly disrupted by his new neighbors and unexpected relationships that bring him back to life.

What does Ove mean in Swedish?

In Swedish, “Ove” is a male given name.

Is the movie A Man Called Ove the same as the book?

Yes, the movie “A Man Called Ove” is based on the novel of the same name by Fredrik Backman.

About the Author-Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Full NameFredrik Backman
Birth DateJune 2, 1981
Notable Works-A Man Called Ove
-My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
-Britt-Marie Was Here
-Us Against You
-Anxious People
Writing StyleHeartfelt, humorous, character-driven
AwardsVarious literary awards for his novels
BackgroundBegan as a blogger before becoming an author
Popular ThemesThemes of human connection, empathy, community
Literary ImpactInternationally renowned contemporary author
AdaptationsSeveral novels adapted into films and TV series
Other VenturesInvolved in social issues and charity work

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