A Man Called Ove


Fredrik Backman

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A Man Called Ove: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

The narrator says that despite Ove spending most of the previous day yelling at Parvaneh that he wouldn't keep the cat, the cat is in his house today and Ove isn't dead. Parvaneh had called a vet, who had left Ove a long list of care instructions for the cat, which needs exercise more than anything. At a quarter to six Ove prepares his coffee. He picks up four tiny socks that the vet left for the cat and wrestles the cat into them. On his morning inspection, Ove picks up a cigarette butt left by the man in the white shirt.
When Parvaneh forces community on Ove, she successfully thwarts his suicide attempts. Now that Ove has something to care for, just as he cared for Sonja, Ove is going to have a much harder time dying. Because of this, Ove is also taking care of things in his greater community as he picks up the cigarette butts.
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After Ove feeds the cat, he tells it that it will have to accompany him on his errands. Ove and the cat disagree on whether the cat should sit on newspaper in the Saab. When the cat scratches through the paper, Ove slams on the brakes and the cat hits its nose on the dashboard. While Ove is in the florist's, the cat licks the steering wheel and Ove's seatbelt. When Ove waves his finger at the cat, it bites him.
The cat has absolutely no regard for Ove's principles. Like Parvaneh, the cat seems to meet Ove on his level and fight back when Ove does things the cat finds questionable. This works to bring Ove outside of his own head and his stubborn ideas to see the greater community and world around him.
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At the cemetery, Ove kicks the cat out of the car, gets his flowers, and they walk to Sonja's grave. Ove offers her the pink flowers and introduces the "cat annoyance." He clarifies to Sonja that the cat looked mangy before it arrived, and then gets down on his knees and tells Sonja he misses her. The cat lays its head in Ove's palm.
Despite Ove's tiff with the cat, the cat acts like it genuinely cares for Ove. This tender moment shows that when Ove allows people (or cats) into his life, they'll often offer care and comfort in return.
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