Fredrik Backman‘s A Man Called Ove may be a household name, but it didn’t capture the attention of English-speaking book critics’ right away. Though it was an immediate hit in Backman’s native Sweden when released in 2012, the English translation flew under the radar at first. In fact, the New York Times didn’t even publish an A Man Called Ove review when the book’s English translation came out in 2013.
It was a secret beloved by passionate readers only until the paperback was released in May 2015. Thanks to word-of-mouth praise and fervent indie booksellers, the novel exploded in popularity. Today, A Man Called Ove reviews total nearly 13,000 on Amazon, garnering an overall rating of 4.5 stars. On Goodreads, its 219,000 reviews give it an impressive 4.34 star rating. What’s more, the book was developed into a film in 2015, and it went on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
Needless to say, the book has taken on a successful life of its own, winning over readers across the globe. Check out our A Man Called Ove review roundup below to decide if you’ll love the book, too!
Publishers Weekly: “The debut novel from journalist Backman is a fuzzy crowd-pleaser that serves up laughs to accompany a thoughtful reflection on loss and love.”
Kirkus Reviews: “In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden, generous heart.”
HuffPost: “A Man Called Ove is charming, delightful, and the best book I read last year. You will totally understand my devotion to these characters from the very first pages; just make sure you have a box of tissues on hand for all those tears.”
The Independent: “Backman can tickle the funny bone and tug on the heart strings when he needs to, and is a clever enough storyteller to not overindulge in either.”
The San Diego Union Tribune: “You will laugh, you will cry, as his heartbreaking story unfolds through the diverse cast of characters that enter his life, all uninvited… You will never look at the grumpy people who come into your life in quite the same way. A very memorable read.”
Shelf Awareness: “A Man Called Ove is exquisite. The lyrical language is the confetti thrown liberally throughout this celebration-of-life story, adding sparkle and color to an already spectacular party. Backman’s characters feel so authentic that readers will likely find analogues living in their own neighborhoods. This astounding, colorful debut inspires both laughter and tears: part love story, part crusade, all wonderful.”
Booklist: “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down.”
CBS Baltimore: “This quirky debut is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the impact one life has on countless others — and an absolute delight.”
Sunday Express: “I loved A Man Called Ove so much that I started to ration how much I read to prolong my time with this cantankerous, low-key, misunderstood man… Each short chapter of A Man Called Ove could stand alone as a beautifully crafted short story. Bring the chapters together and you have the most uplifting, life-affirming, and often comic tale of how kindness, love, and happiness can be found in the most unlikely places.”
BBC Radio 2: “This is a heartwarming, funny, moving, and uplifting debut novel which tells the story of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step.”
What would you write in your A Man Called Ove review? Tell us below!