A Man Called Ove

Houses Symbol Icon

Ove loves building and fixing houses because they're fair and predictable: you get out of a house what you put into it. Because of this, houses function as a symbol for Ove's love of fairness and loyalty. Ove and Sonja's house in particular functions this way after Ove rebuilds it to accommodate Sonja's wheelchair. By making it so Sonja can move freely through the house and continue her normal activities, Ove demonstrates his loyalty to Sonja and her quality of life.

Houses Quotes in A Man Called Ove

The A Man Called Ove quotes below all refer to the symbol of Houses. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Washington Square Press edition of A Man Called Ove published in 2015.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Every morning for the almost four decades they had lived in this house, Ove had put on the coffee percolator, using exactly the same amount of coffee as on any other morning, and then drank a cup with his wife.

Related Characters: Ove, Sonja
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

And if you could just go and buy everything, what was the value of it? What was the value of a man?

Related Characters: Ove
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

He'd discovered that he liked houses. Maybe mostly because they were understandable... Houses were fair, they gave you what you deserved. Which, unfortunately, was more than one could say about people.

Related Characters: Ove
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 14 Quotes

She wanted to get married, so Ove proposed. She wanted children, which was fine with him, said Ove. And their understanding was that children should live in row housing developments among other children.

Related Characters: Ove, Sonja
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

As if the kitchen had been built for a child. Parvaneh stares at them the way people always do when they see it for the first time. Ove has got used to it. He rebuilt the kitchen himself after the accident. The council refused to help, of course.

Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
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Epilogue Quotes

The woman is pregnant. Her eyes glitter as she walks through the rooms, the way eyes glitter when a person imagines her child's future memories unfolding there on the floor.

Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 337
Explanation and Analysis:
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Houses Symbol Timeline in A Man Called Ove

The timeline below shows where the symbol Houses appears in A Man Called Ove. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. (Three Weeks Earlier) A Man Called Ove Makes His Neighborhood Inspection
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...puts an improperly parked bicycle into the shed. Then he walks back to his own house and leans down to check if his paving stones smell like urine (they do). He... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove looks at the house opposite his, where a family with children is moving in. He looks at his ceiling... (full context)
3. A Man Called Ove Backs Up With a Trailer
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...window in his face and backs the car and trailer up perfectly between the two houses. The Lanky One thanks Ove for the help as Ove insults his driving abilities. (full context)
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove goes into his house muttering about his new neighbors. He stares at his living room ceiling and loses himself... (full context)
6. A Man Called Ove and a Bicycle That Should Have Been Left Where Bicycles Are Left
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Ove gets out of his Saab, locks the garage door, and heads back to his house. As he passes the bike shed he sees a woman's bicycle improperly parked outside. Ove... (full context)
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
As Ove stomps back to his house he thinks about all his horrible neighbors. He remembers that the heavy young man's name... (full context)
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
When Ove gets close to his house, he notices that “Blond Weed” is yelling violently and throwing stones at the cat, which... (full context)
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...cat seems unconcerned and saunters away. Ove slams his door on the way into his house and decides he's had enough and he's going to die now. (full context)
7. A Man Called Ove Drills A Hole For A Hook
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...of plastic. Ove isn't worried about making a mess hanging himself—rather, he knows that his house will be crawling with real estate agents as soon as he's dead. Ove puts his... (full context)
9. A Man Called Ove Bleeds a Radiator
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...the feud between Ove and Rune had been about a new heating system for the houses in the neighborhood, though it was really about many things and spanned 37 years. Ove... (full context)
10. A Man Who Was Ove and a House That Ove Built
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...realized he wasn't a part of. Ove began receiving letters from the council about his house being on the edge of a municipal boundary. He noticed that the middle class were... (full context)
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...next day. Ove began throwing away the letters from the council and finished repairing his house. He'd learned that he liked houses because they were fair and understandable, unlike people. (full context)
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Ove gave him some and they ended up sitting in Ove's kitchen talking about remodeling houses for an hour. When Ove admitted to the man that he didn't have house insurance,... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove tried to avoid his neighbors, but several weeks after finishing his house one of the neighbors was robbed. The neighbors figured that Ove stole money to renovate... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
When Ove reached his porch, he realized it was his elderly neighbor's house burning, not his own. The man and his wife were out of the house. Ove... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
By that time, the fire department had arrived and the fire had reached Ove's house. When Ove ran to put out the fire, a man in a white shirt explained... (full context)
11. A Man Called Ove and a Lanky One Who Can't Open a Window Without Falling Off a Ladder
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
When Ove leaves his house for his inspection the next morning, the ground is covered in snow. Ove notices the... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...get the job done. Ove goes inside, puts on his good suit, and prepares his house for his death. (full context)
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Ove angrily walks to where the Škoda was parked in front of Rune and Anita's house. He picks up cigarette butts that the driver threw on the ground. Anita appears, greets... (full context)
12. A Man Who Was Ove and One Day He Had Enough
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The night after the house fire, Ove slept in his car. Two days later, two men in white shirts showed... (full context)
14. A Man Who Was Ove and a Woman On A Train
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...he wanted to do with his life, and he answered that he wanted to build houses. She angrily asked him why he wasn't doing that. On Monday, she showed up at... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...He and Sonja married and agreed to have children, so they moved into the row house near the forest. And now, less than 40 years after their first date, the forest... (full context)
15. A Man Called Ove and a Delayed Train
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove had prepared his house for his death and not noticed the cat-shaped hole in the snow outside his shed.... (full context)
17. A Man Called Ove and a Cat Annoyance in a Snowdrift
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...cat out of the snow. She yells at Ove to open the door to his house. Ove feels out of breath and thinks of Ernest as Parvaneh yells again to open... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Parvaneh strides into Ove's house with the dripping cat and orders Ove to find her blankets. She tells him to... (full context)
18. A Man Who Was Ove and a Cat Called Ernest
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...meeting and got in the Saab, she told Ove that they needed to buy a house. When Ove asked why, she put his hand on her belly and told him that... (full context)
19. A Man Called Ove and a Cat That Was Broken When He Came
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
20. A Man Called Ove and an Intruder
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Ove walks towards his house with the cat, goes inside, and sits on his stool. He's shaking with humiliation and... (full context)
22. A Man Called Ove and Someone in a Garage
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...shoveled snow, Lena reappeared and tried to talk to Ove. Ove locked himself in his house, but Lena continued to bang on his door and called him a hero. When she... (full context)
23. A Man Who Was Ove and a Bus That Never Got There
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove rebuilt the house and made it accessible for Sonja's wheelchair. She returned to teacher training the day after... (full context)
25. A Man Called Ove and a Piece of Corrugated Iron
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
...positioned all the photographs of Sonja so that she seems to follow him through the house. When Ove picks up the pill bottle, the cat looks at him with a horrified... (full context)
28. A Man Who Was Ove and a Man Who Was Rune
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...and demanded all residents put out poison, but everyone refused. Someone sprinkled birdseed behind Rune's house, which attracted massive rats, and Rune put out poison. There was then the "Snow Clearance... (full context)
31. A Man Called Ove Backs Up a Trailer. Again.
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The man in the white shirt gets out of his car by Rune and Anita's house as Ove yells at him. The man asks Ove what he's going to do about... (full context)
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Ove walks to Parvaneh's house and asks if Patrick is home. Parvaneh nods and Patrick opens the door. He greets... (full context)
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
When the man in the white shirt comes out of Rune's house, he finds his car blocked by a trailer. Ove stands there and insists he didn't... (full context)
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...back and win, and that life will go on without Sonja. Ove goes into his house, ignores Parvaneh banging on the door, and cries. (full context)
32. A Man Called Ove Isn't Running a Damned Hotel
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...to Spain, which she refused to take down. In the morning, Ove wakes to a house occupied by himself, the cat, and a gay person. He thinks that Sonja would've liked... (full context)
33. A Man Called Ove and an Inspection Tour That Is Not the Usual
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...thought he had more time to help, and then strides off to Anita and Rune's house. He bangs on the door and Anita opens it. Ove steps in without being invited... (full context)
34. A Man Called Ove and a Boy in the House Next Door
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...The narrator explains that over the last forty years, many different people lived in the house between Ove and Rune. Ove and Rune could always agree that the current residents of... (full context)
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...bull neck. Anita and Sonja tried to ignore the shouting they heard coming from the house, but began to notice bruises on the woman. When Ove heard the boy pleading one... (full context)
35. A Man Called Ove and Social Incompetence
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
A few mornings later, Parvaneh lets herself into Ove's house and runs for his bathroom. Ove remembers Sonja saying, "hell has no fury like a... (full context)
36. A Man Called Ove and a Whiskey
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
37. A Man Called Ove and a Lot of Bastards Sticking Their Noses In
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
When the group gets back to their street, Amel is standing outside Ove's house. Mirsad mumbles a greeting and Ove has dinner at Parvaneh and Patrick's house while Mirsad... (full context)
38. A Man Called Ove and the End of a Story
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...party. He makes his regular round of the neighborhood and notices someone moving between Parvaneh's house and the house next door, whose residents are in Thailand. Ove hears the someone tapping... (full context)
A Man Called Ove and an Epilogue
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...the best man and Amel holds the party at his cafe. Mirsad moves into Jimmy's house and they adopt a little girl the next year. They visit Rune every day, and... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Within a few years, Ove's neighborhood turns into a city district as they build more houses. One day Patrick shows up on Ove's doorstep with two men who need help restoring... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...up at 8:15 one morning and sees that the snow hasn't been shoveled outside Ove's house. She runs across the street and into Ove's bedroom, where the cat is lying with... (full context)
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Later that evening, Parvaneh shows Ove's house to a young couple. The woman is pregnant and seems to love the house, but... (full context)