10 Books Like A Man Called Ove

Books Like A Man Called Ove

Ove, the curmudgeonly yet endearing protagonist, stole our hearts with his gruff exterior and surprising capacity for love and connection. 

If you’re looking for more novels that offer the same blend of humor, warmth, and emotional depth, then buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey through some heartwarming reads that will leave you smiling (and maybe even shedding a tear or two).

Books Like A Man Called Ove

1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

This novel tells the story of Harold Fry, a recently retired man who embarks on an impromptu walk across England to deliver a letter to an old friend who is dying. 

Along the way, Harold meets various people who influence his journey and reflections on his life. It’s a story full of charm, wit, and a deep dive into the protagonist’s past, revealing his regrets, loves, and losses.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “A Man Called Ove,” this book delves into themes of redemption, the impact of the past on the present, and the unexpected friendships that can change one’s life. Both novels feature an older protagonist embarking on an unexpected journey that leads to self-discovery and transformation. 

The heartwarming narrative and the exploration of human connections in both stories are deeply moving.

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This novel introduces Eleanor Oliphant, a socially awkward and solitary woman who struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. 

Her life starts changing when she and a coworker help an elderly man who has fallen on the sidewalk, leading to an unlikely friendship. The book is a poignant exploration of loneliness, the importance of compassion, and the possibility of transformation at any age.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and “A Man Called Ove” feature protagonists with difficult pasts who initially lead isolated lives but gradually open up to the world around them through unexpected relationships. 

Themes of loneliness, the human capacity for change, and the power of kindness resonate deeply in both stories.

3. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This novel centers around A.J. Fikry, the irritable owner of a small island bookstore, whose life is not going as planned. His rare collection of Poe poems has been stolen, and his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history. However, the arrival of a mysterious package gives him the chance to make his life over and see everything anew.

Major Similarities:

Like “A Man Called Ove,” “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” deals with themes of loss, second chances, and the transformative power of community and literature. 

Both novels feature curmudgeonly protagonists whose lives are changed by new connections and the unexpected love that enters their lives, highlighting the theme that it’s never too late to start anew.

4. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This novel follows Allan Karlsson, who escapes from his nursing home on his 100th birthday and embarks on an unforgettable adventure. 

With a suitcase full of cash and unforeseen allies, Allan’s journey intertwines with his colorful past, revealing a life lived to the fullest. The story is a unique blend of historical fiction, comedy, and adventure.

Major Similarities: 

Both books feature elderly protagonists who defy societal expectations and embark on life-changing adventures. 

The humor and warmth in storytelling, alongside the exploration of the characters’ pasts interwoven with present events, create a narrative that celebrates life at any age. Both Allan and Ove’s stories are about finding joy and purpose in unexpected places.

5. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Written by the same author as “A Man Called Ove,” this novel tells the story of Elsa, a seven-year-old with an extraordinary grandmother. 

When her grandmother passes away and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa embarks on a journey of discovery and delivery, learning about her grandmother’s past and the stories she told.

Major Similarities: 

Like “A Man Called Ove,” this book explores themes of loss, redemption, and the impact one individual can have on the lives of many. 

It also combines humor with heartache to tell a story that spans generations. The narrative is a testament to the power of storytelling and the bonds that form the foundation of our lives, resonating with the emotional depth and character-driven narrative of “A Man Called Ove.”

6. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

In this novel, Britt-Marie, a woman who is told she is a nagging passive-aggressive aunt, leaves her cheating husband and starts anew in a decrepit town. 

Taking a job as the caretaker of a soon-to-be-demolished recreation center, she meets a quirky group of characters who challenge her rigid ways of seeing the world. Through this journey, Britt-Marie discovers her hidden strength and the courage to live life on her own terms.

Major Similarities: 

Written by the same author as “A Man Called Ove,” “Britt-Marie Was Here” explores themes of finding one’s place in the world, the importance of community, and the idea that it’s never too late to change. 

Both novels feature protagonists who, after experiencing personal loss, embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, ultimately finding belonging and acceptance in unexpected places.

7. The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Set in 1988, “The Music Shop” is about Frank, the owner of a music shop that sells vinyl records in a struggling suburban street. 

He has a gift for finding the exact piece of music that will help heal or uplift his customers. His world is turned upside down when Ilse Brauchmann walks into his shop and asks him to teach her about music. What follows is a story of love, loss, and the power of music to bring people together.

Major Similarities: 

Like “A Man Called Ove,” “The Music Shop” delves into themes of community, the impact of the past on the present, and the redemptive power of love and friendship.

Both novels feature characters who are stuck in their ways but find their lives transformed by new relationships. The stories celebrate the beauty of the ordinary and the potential for connection in everyone’s lives.

8. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

This novel centers on Major Ernest Pettigrew, a retired British army officer living in a quiet English village, who forms an unexpected relationship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper. 

Together, they navigate the challenges of their communities’ prejudices and their own families’ expectations. It’s a witty, compassionate look at friendship, love, and the conventions we navigate in the pursuit of happiness.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” and “A Man Called Ove” offer insightful looks into the lives of older protagonists who defy societal norms through unexpected relationships. 

Themes of cultural clash, community, love, and the breaking down of traditional barriers are prevalent in both stories, with a shared emphasis on the importance of tolerance and understanding.

9. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

This novel tells the story of the Whitshank family over several generations, focusing on their secrets, achievements, and domestic dramas. 

At the heart of the story is the family home itself, a character that witnesses the unfolding family saga. Through beautifully detailed narrative, Tyler explores themes of family dynamics, the passage of time, and the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of our lives.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “A Man Called Ove,” “A Spool of Blue Thread” explores the complexities of human relationships and the impact of personal history on the present. 

Both novels feature rich character development and a deep sense of place, offering a nuanced look at the ties that bind us to our families and communities. The emphasis on home as a central theme resonates in both stories, highlighting the significance of where we come from and where we belong.

10. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel takes place in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine, and presents a portrait of the title character, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who is larger than life, blunt, and often misunderstood. 

Through a series of linked stories, readers see Olive from various perspectives and stages of her life, as well as the lives of those in her community. The novel explores themes of love, loss, change, and the human condition.

Major Similarities: 

Like “A Man Called Ove,” “Olive Kitteridge” provides a deep exploration of its protagonist’s inner life and relationships with others. Both books examine the complexities of aging, the beauty in everyday moments, and the unexpected connections that can profoundly affect our lives. 

The structure of “Olive Kitteridge,” with its interconnected stories, offers a similar narrative richness to “A Man Called Ove,” focusing on character and community.

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