A Man Called Ove


Fredrik Backman

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A Man Called Ove Characters


Ove is the 59-year-old protagonist of the novel. As a boy he lost his mother and then as a teenager, his father died. From his father Ove inherited a Saab, a rundown house, and… read analysis of Ove


Sonja is Ove's late wife, who dies six months before the start of the novel. She was very beautiful and loved color, chaos, and the humanities. She also loved talking, and Ove loved… read analysis of Sonja

Parvaneh / “The Foreign Pregnant Woman”

Before learning her name, Ove refers to Parvaneh as “the Foreign Pregnant Woman,” as she's Iranian and pregnant. Parvaneh moves in across the street from Ove with her husband Patrick and her two children, Nasaninread analysis of Parvaneh / “The Foreign Pregnant Woman”

Patrick / “The Lanky One”

Ove refers to Patrick as The Lanky One. He's Parvaneh's husband and works as an IT consultant. Ove finds Patrick ridiculous and infuriating: though he's over six feet tall he drives a tiny automatic… read analysis of Patrick / “The Lanky One”


Jimmy is a young overweight man who lives in the house between Ove and Rune. He lived there with his mother until her death, which occurred a few years before the start of the… read analysis of Jimmy
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Anders is Ove's neighbor across the street who owns a towing company. He drives an Audi and dates a woman that Ove refers to as the Blond Weed. These factors lead Ove to… read analysis of Anders

Blond Weed

Blond Weed is Anders' girlfriend. Ove never learns her name but refers to her as Blond Weed because she's blond, tall, and wears very tall high heels. She has a small dog named Prince… read analysis of Blond Weed


Rune and Ove moved into the neighborhood with their wives on the same day. When their wives, Anita and Sonja, became friends, Rune and Ove became friends to appease their wives. Rune is a lot… read analysis of Rune


Anita is Rune's husband and lives two houses down from Ove. She and Rune moved into the neighborhood at the same time that Ove and Sonja did, and she and Sonja became quick friends… read analysis of Anita

The Man in the White Shirt

Though there are many "white shirts" in the novel, this particular white-shirt-wearer is the Škoda-driving man who wants to place Rune in assisted living. He refuses to follow the rules of Ove's neighborhood and… read analysis of The Man in the White Shirt

The Cat

The cat is a mangy creature that begins lurking around Ove's house after Patrick and Parvaneh move in across the street. Ove rescues the cat from the Blond Weed's dog and Parvaneh insists… read analysis of The Cat


Nasanin is Parvaneh and Patrick's three-year-old daughter. Ove finds her toddler language perplexing and her boundless energy tiring. She thinks that Ove is the funniest and most exciting person she's ever met and because… read analysis of Nasanin

Mirsad / “The Young Man”

Mirsad is a young man in his early 20s who works in a cafe with Adrian. He's supposedly the boss, but seems unsure of his authority. Ove refers to him as the "young man"… read analysis of Mirsad / “The Young Man”

Adrian / “The Youth”

Adrian is a teenager who is in love with a girl that lives on Ove's street. Adrian meets Ove while trying to fix the girl's bicycle. Ove refers to him as "the youth" before… read analysis of Adrian / “The Youth”


Lena is a reporter with Ove's local paper who wants desperately to interview Ove following his heroic rescue of the "suit" who fell onto the train tracks. She is incessant and drives Ove to… read analysis of Lena

Ove's Father

Ove's father was known for being almost too kind, though Ove never saw why this was a problem. He had a knack for working on cars and fixed them as favors for the higher-ups at… read analysis of Ove's Father

Sonja's Father

Sonja's father was a solitary man who lived in the far north. He didn't like people much and only went into town once per month. He was also a devoted Scania driver, which enabled him… read analysis of Sonja's Father


Tom is an employee at the train company where Ove's father and Ove both worked. He has a reputation for being exceptionally mean, selfish, and violent. He never forgives Ove for deciding to turn in… read analysis of Tom
Minor Characters
The Seven-year-old
The seven-year-old is Parvaneh and Patrick's oldest daughter. Ove finds her sour and snotty at first, but soon learns that she too loves houses. They bond over this shared love and Ove buys her an iPad so she can use specific drawing programs for drawing houses.
Amel is Mirsad's father. Ove describes him as short and square. Amel curses frequently like Ove does, but in a different language. When Mirsad comes out as gay, Amel kicks him out, but Ove later convinces him to accept his son.
Ove's Mother
Ove's mother died when Ove was eight years old. She was a happy person and a regular churchgoer. Ove and his father continued going to church after her death as a way of remembering her.
Ernest is Sonja's childhood cat, named after Ernest Hemingway. He is described as being the size of a moped (almost certainly an exaggeration) and likes to go fishing with Sonja's father. He dies after getting hit by a car less than a week after Sonja's father dies.
Man in the suit
The man in the suit sells Ove phony homeowner's insurance for his childhood home.
José runs the hotel in Spain where Ove and Sonja stay on their bus tour. He gives them free food after Ove fixes a car to help get an old woman to the hospital.