A Man Called Ove


Fredrik Backman

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A Man Called Ove: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

The narrator introduces Ove: he's 59 and drives a Saab. He's in an Apple store, holding a box and grumpily and suspiciously asking a young sales clerk about an "O-Pad." The clerk tries to explain that it's an iPad. Ove tries to ascertain if the iPad is a computer or not, but the clerk can't answer the question to Ove's satisfaction. Ove yells that he wants a "normal bloody computer," and the clerk tries to steer Ove towards a laptop.
Ove is obviously out of his element in an Apple store. This provides some early clues that Ove hasn't necessarily evolved with the times. He remains stuck in a past where iPads and such things don't exist, which makes it all the more puzzling why he's in an Apple store in the first place.
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Ove continues to inspect the iPad and asks where the keyboard pulls out. The clerk nervously tells Ove that there is no keyboard and Ove crows that the keyboard must be an extra purchase. The clerk again tries to convince Ove to look at a MacBook. Ove asks if that's an e-reader. The clerk calls a coworker over to show Ove the laptops and the clerk says he's going to lunch. Ove snorts that lunch is all young people care about these days. Ove throws the box down and walks out of the store.
Ove seems to believe that salespeople are out to upsell things to him and take advantage of him. This opening passage introduces several of the primary questions of the novel: how Ove came to behave this way, and what happened to him that sent him to an Apple store. He expresses obvious disdain for young people, as shown in the are major generational differences between the clerks and Ove.
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