Quotes from A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman ·  337 pages

Rating: (324.7K votes)


“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“To love someone is like moving into a house," Sonja used to say. "At first you fall in love in everything new, you wonder every morning that this is one's own, as if they are afraid that someone will suddenly come tumbling through the door and say that there has been a serious mistake and that it simply was not meant to would live so fine. But as the years go by, the facade worn, the wood cracks here and there, and you start to love this house not so much for all the ways it is perfect in that for all the ways it is not. You become familiar with all its nooks and crannies. How to avoid that the key gets stuck in the lock if it is cold outside. Which floorboards have some give when you step on them, and exactly how to open the doors for them not to creak. That's it, all the little secrets that make it your home.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it's often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if'.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove



“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“And time is a curious thing. Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person's life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. memories, perhaps.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“He went through life with his hands firmly shoved into his pockets. She danced.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove



“You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away,”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“Loving someone is like moving into a house," Sonja used to say. "At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren't actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather for its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it's cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without them creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“You miss the strangest things when you lose someone. Little things. Smiles. The way she turned over in her sleep. Even repainting a room for her.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than six feet; the blood can’t quite make it all the way up to the brain.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“Now you listen to me," says Ove calmly while he carefully closes the door. "You've given birth to two children and quite soon will be squeezing out a third. You've come here from a land far away and most likely you fled war and persecution and all sorts of other nonsense. You've learned a new language and got yourself an education and you're holding together a family of obvious incompetents. And I'll be damned if I've seen you afraid of a single bloody thing in this world before now....I'm not asking for brain surgery. I'm asking you to drive a car. It's got an accelerator, a brake and a clutch. Some of the greatest twits in world history have sorted out how it works. And you will as well." And then he utters seven words, which Parvaneh will always remember as the loveliest compliment he'll ever give her. "Because you are not a complete twit.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove



“We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“He had never heard anything quite as amazing as that voice. She talked as if she was continuously on the verge of breaking into giggles. And when she giggled she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“All people at root are time optimists. We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if'.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“But sorrow is unreliable in that way. When people don’t share it there’s a good chance that it will drive them apart instead.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“All roads lead to something you were predestined to do.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove



“Men like Ove and Rune were from a generation in which one was what one did, not what one talked about.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“They never had much, but they always had enough.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“But if anyone had asked, he would have told them that he never lived before he met her. And not after either.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“It's been six months since she died. But Ove still inspects the whole house twice a day to feel the radiators and check that she hasn't sneakily turned up the heating.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove



“A job well done is a reward in its own right,”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“She laughed and laughed and laughed until the vowels were rolling across the walls and floors, as if they meant to do away with the laws of time and space.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“Because this was what Ove had learned: if one didn’t have anything to say, one had to find something to ask. If there was one thing that made people forget to dislike one, it was when they were given the opportunity to talk about themselves.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“One finds a way of living for the sake of someone else's future. And it wasn't as if Ove also died when Sonja left him. He just stopped living.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove


“Ove stomped forward. The cat stood up. Ove stopped. They stood there measuring each other up for a few moments, like two potential troublemakers in a small-town bar. Ove considered throwing one of his clogs at it. The cat looked as if it regretted not bringing its own clogs to lob back.”
― Fredrik Backman, quote from A Man Called Ove



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About the author

Fredrik Backman
Born place: in Stockholm, Sweden
Born date June 2, 1981
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