A Man Called Ove


Fredrik Backman

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A Man Called Ove: Chapter 36 Summary & Analysis

Ove has been explaining how to properly own a car to Parvaneh as they drive. It's apparent to Ove that Parvaneh isn't listening, as she's asking silly questions. She stops and says she'll wait for Ove and says that it was nice that he came over the night before. The narrator says that last night after dinner at Parvaneh's house, Nasanin had asked Ove to read her a story. After Nasanin and the cat had fallen asleep, Ove crept back down the hallway past the seven-year-old's room. She'd been sitting at her computer playing a game and Ove looked at the drawings on her walls. Most of them were of houses, which Ove found intriguing.
Ove hasn't done a complete 180; he still has definite ideas about certain things (like how to properly own a car) and isn't willing to budge on some of those things, regardless of the other changes he's made. Ove is forming community with Parvaneh's children as well as the adults in the neighborhood. The house drawings that the seven-year-old makes suggest that the two have more in common than Ove might've thought, which again encourages Ove to think more critically about how he judges people.
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Ove entered the seven-year-old's room. She looked displeased but pointed to a crate for Ove to sit on next to her. She explained the game she was playing to Ove, in which she builds houses and then cities. Ove sat with her and they played the game for two and a half hours, until Parvaneh threatened to unplug the computer. As Ove left her room, the seven-year-old pointed to a drawing of a house and whispered that it was Ove's house.
The game allows Ove and the seven-year-old to bridge the generation gap by giving them each something they love (houses, computers) in one game. The game sounds very much like what Ove might've done in his job at the housing office, which turns the game then into a way to remember the past without negatively dwelling on it.
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Back in the present, Ove enters Amel's cafe. Amel looks sad and angry, and he and Ove look at each for a minute. Ove sits on a bar stool and asks Amel if he still has whiskey. Amel slowly gets the whiskey out. The narrator says that it's difficult to admit that you're wrong when you've been wrong for a very long time.
Amel is showing the signs of community loss; he very much resembles the Ove we met at the beginning of the novel. The narrator's aside suggests there is hope that Amel will come around and decide that loving his son is something he can do.
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