Excerpt from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Man Called Ove

by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2014, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2015, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Linda Hitchcock

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

1
A MAN CALLED OVE BUYS A COMPUTER THAT IS NOT A COMPUTER

Ove is fifty-nine.

He drives a Saab. He's the kind of man who points at people he doesn't like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman's flashlight. He stands at the counter of a shop where owners of Japanese cars come to purchase white cables. Ove eyes the sales assistant for a long time before shaking a mediumsized white box at him.

"So this is one of those O-Pads, is it?" he demands.

The assistant, a young man with a single-digit body mass index, looks ill at ease. He visibly struggles to control his urge to snatch the box out of Ove's hands.

"Yes, exactly. An iPad. Do you think you could stop shaking it like that . . . ?"

Ove gives the box a skeptical glance, as if it's a highly dubious sort of box, a box that rides a scooter and wears tracksuit pants and just called Ove "my friend" before offering to sell him a watch.

"I see. So it's a computer, yes?"

The sales assistant nods. Then hesitates and quickly shakes his head.

"Yes . . . or, what I mean is, it's an iPad. Some people call it a 'tablet' and others call it a 'surfing device.' There are different ways of looking at it. . . ."

Ove looks at the sales assistant as if he has just spoken backwards, before shaking the box again.

"But is it good, this thing?"

The assistant nods confusedly. "Yes. Or . . . How do you mean?" Ove sighs and starts talking slowly, articulating his words as if the only problem here is his adversary's impaired hearing.

"Is. It. Goooood? Is it a good computer?"

The assistant scratches his chin.

"I mean . . . yeah . . . it's really good . . . but it depends what sort of computer you want."

Ove glares at him.

"I want a computer! A normal bloody computer!"

Silence descends over the two men for a short while. The assistant clears his throat.

"Well . . . it isn't really a normal computer. Maybe you'd rather have a . . ."

The assistant stops and seems to be looking for a word that falls within the bounds of comprehension of the man facing him. Then he clears his throat again and says:

". . . a laptop?"

Ove shakes his head wildly and leans menacingly over the counter.

"No, I don't want a 'laptop.' I want a computer."

The assistant nods pedagogically.

"A laptop is a computer."

Ove, insulted, glares at him and stabs his forefinger at the counter.

"You think I don't know that!"

Another silence, as if two gunmen have suddenly realized they have forgotten to bring their pistols. Ove looks at the box for a long time, as though he's waiting for it to make a confession.

"Where does the keyboard pull out?" he mutters eventually. The sales assistant rubs his palms against the edge of the counter and shifts his weight nervously from foot to foot, as young men employed in retail outlets often do when they begin to understand that something is going to take considerably more time than they had initially hoped.

"Well, this one doesn't actually have a keyboard."

Ove does something with his eyebrows. "Ah, of course," he splutters. "Because you have to buy it as an 'extra,' don't you?"

"No, what I mean is that the computer doesn't have a separate keyboard. You control everything from the screen."

Ove shakes his head in disbelief, as if he's just witnessed the sales assistant walking around the counter and licking the glassfronted display cabinet.

"But I have to have a keyboard. You do understand that?"

The young man sighs deeply, as if patiently counting to ten. "Okay. I understand. In that case I don't think you should go for this computer. I think you should buy something like a MacBook instead."

Excerpted from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Copyright © 2014 by Fredrik Backman. Excerpted by permission of Atria Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  A Brief History of Saab Cars

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Wonderful Feels Like This
    Wonderful Feels Like This
    by Sara Lovestam
    High school is hard; or perhaps, more accurately, growing up and finding oneself is hard. This is ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Light Yokohama
    Blue Light Yokohama
    by Nicolas Obregon
    Blue Light Yokohama, Nicolás Obregón's crime fiction debut, takes place in an exotic ...
  • Book Jacket: Inferno
    Inferno
    by Steven Hatch
    The word "Ebola" sets off an almost visceral reaction in many of us; we think about the men, women ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Book of Summer
    by Michelle Gable

    The bestselling author of The Paris Apartment, Michelle Gable now transports readers to Nantucket.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T W Don't M A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -