Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fredrik Backman's 'A Man Called Ove' - Discussion Questions

(1981 - Present)

Consider the title of the book, and the chapter names – is there any particular trait that is synonymous with masculinity? Which of these traits define Ove – making him the ‘man’ that he is? Indeed, what separates the men from the boys?

Sonja and Ove: “Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t…But if anyone had asked, he would have told them that he never lived before he met her. And not after either.” Discuss their relationship. Was Ove a different man when he was with Sonja; or rather, was she the only one who saw who he truly was?

“Ove may have given up on life, but Life refuses to give up Ove.” Discuss.

Compare and contrast Ove with either legendary curmudgeons in Literature – Silas Marner, Johanna Spyri’s ‘Grandfather’ (from ‘Heidi’), and of course, Ebeneezer Scrooge – or, in other books that you may have read. Is there a particular appeal in discovering new aspects of someone whom society has either misunderstood or underestimated?

Society misjudges introverts – Agree? Disagree?

One of the characteristics of Ove is his manual dexterity – his ability to make, or fix things. In our rush towards technological advancement, is our present generation losing out on skills that may be more basic, but just as valuable? Are we being dumbed down in the process?

Tough, ornery Ove seems to have met his match in Cat. Discuss the effects of having a pet that literally saves so many from a prison of loneliness.

Ove’s neighbors – discuss. At a time when Ove wants to disconnect from the world, the world won’t stop barging in on him. Discuss the sense of community that is such an important factor in this novel.

Did the conclusion take you by surprise? Would you consider it fitting or contrived? 

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