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

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A Man Called Ove

by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman X
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2014, 352 pages

    Paperback:
    May 2015, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Linda Hitchcock
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Print Excerpt


"Scram!" Ove bellowed, so abruptly that the cat jumped back. It briefly scrutinized the fifty-nine-year-old man and his clogs, then turned and lolloped off. Ove could have sworn it rolled its eyes before clearing out.

Pest, he thought, glancing at his watch. Two minutes to six. Time to get going or the bloody cat would have succeeded in delaying the entire inspection. Fine state of affairs that would be.

He began marching along the footpath between the houses. He stopped by the traffic sign informing motorists that they were prohibited from entering the residential area. He gave the metal pole a firm kick. Not that it was wonky or anything, but it's always best to check. Ove is the sort of man who checks the status of all things by giving them a good kick.

He walked across the parking area and strolled back and forth along all the garages to make sure none of them had been burgled in the night or set on fire by gangs of vandals. Such things had never happened around here, but then Ove had never skipped one of his inspections either. He tugged three times at the door handle of his own garage, where his Saab was parked. Just like any other morning.

After this, he detoured through the guest parking area, where cars could only be left for up to twenty-four hours. Carefully he noted down all the license numbers in the little pad he kept in his jacket pocket, and then compared these to the licenses he had noted down the day before. On occasions when the same license numbers turned up in Ove 's notepad, Ove would go home and call the Vehicle Licensing Authority to retrieve the vehicle owner's details, after which he 'd call up the latter and inform him that he was a useless bloody imbecile who couldn't even read signs. Ove didn't really care who was parked in the guest parking area, of course. But it was a question of principle. If it said twenty-four hours on the sign, that's how long you were allowed to stay. What would it be like if everyone just parked wherever they liked? It would be chaos. There 'd be cars bloody everywhere.

Today, thank goodness, there weren't any unauthorized cars in the guest parking, and Ove was able to proceed to the next part of his daily inspection: the trash room. Not that it was really his responsibility, mind. He had steadfastly opposed from the very beginning the nonsense steamrollered through by the recently arrived jeep-brigade that household trash "had to be separated."

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.

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