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Looking for books like A Man Called Ove for your next heartwarming read? These read-alikes are the perfect additions to your reading list.
If you loved the book A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman as much as I did, then you are probably searching for similar books featuring curmudgeonly loners with hearts of gold, unlikely friendships, and humorous but poignant prose.
This list of read-alikes for A Man Called Ove offers something for every fan of the book.
Some are about strong-willed individuals who are determined to stick to their convictions, while others center on unlikely friendships, family, and community. Many are sharply funny, others feature an unlikely friendship or two, and some are heartwarming and poignant.
All of the elements that made you love A Man Called Ove are available in these similar novels, and each is sure to keep you entertained until the very end.
I found Ove similar to another popular read, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I’ve included Eleanor on this list, but I’ve tried not to have too many overlaps with my recommendations for read-alikes with that book, so if you’re looking for more, don’t miss this list as well:
Ready for your next read after A Man Called Ove? Read on for the recommendations!
About A Man Called Ove
Ove is a solitary curmudgeon who is set in his ways and unreserved in his criticism of anyone who crosses his path. But behind his rough exterior is a sweet, sad backstory and a soft-hearted man committed to his morals who is about to have his world rocked by several people (and a cat) who refuse to be held off by a few cranky words. Ove is by turns funny, sad, and heartwarming.
Books to Read After A Man Called Ove
Andrew’s job takes him into the homes of people who have recently died alone, searching for their next-of-kin (or money for a funeral). He has cultivated a lie to his coworkers that he has a wife, a family, and a home. In reality, he is actually alone, nursing old hurts and losses. When a new coworker joins him on his outings, he sees the potential for friendship and a less lonely life. (Also titled “Something to Live For” in some stores.)
After living a quiet life alone with his cat and working as a postman, Albert Entwistle is informed that it’s time for him to retire. He realizes that he’s about to lose the only way he connects with other people, so he sets out to change that. Albert starts trying to make friends, and he also thinks it may be time to share who he really is–and find George, the love of his life who he lost years before.
I loved listening to Albert’s journey to connection and acceptance. His deep shame and fear about his sexuality being discovered were so sad and affected his entire life–in ways that were probably not uncommon. Albert is a lovely character and he forms a number of delightful friendships–much more willingly than Ove did, but the journey is just as enjoyable.
Captain Jefferson Kidd travels the west, reading the news from around the world to the small hamlets scattered across the yet-untamed land. At one stop, he is asked to return a young girl who the Kiowa held captive for years after killing her family. Johanna has almost no memory of her previous life, including how to speak English, but she soon comes to trust Kidd. The two become an unlikely team as they face threats on their journey.
I loved Kidd and Johanna, their journey, and how their relationship unfolded. Kidd’s newsreading events that drew entire towns felt both foreign and charmingly innocent in contrast with today’s information overload.
Eleanor has her routine down to a science: work, weekly phone calls with her mother, and weekends alone with vodka. Never mind that she has no social life, no friends, and she tends to say brutally honest, awkward, and somewhat inappropriate things.
When she finds herself in an unexpected friendship with her coworker, Raymond, she starts to come out of her isolation, but she also must face difficult truths about herself, her past, and her future.
Eleanor is endearing for her mix of self-awareness and oblivious social awkwardness, and Raymond is an unexpected hero. This novel manages to be funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at once.
Daniel is a 20-something man living with an illness that has largely stolen his mobility and speaking ability. Nonetheless, he leads a rich life with a supportive (and hilariously spacy) best friend and a wonderful caregiver. When he witnesses a young woman get into a car–and then she disappears–he knows he has to do something.
Daniel is sharply observant, insightful, and hopeful–you’ll love being in his head, as well as the friendships and small moments of comedy in this lovely and funny story. An easy read and sweet story that packs a punch.
Elizabeth Zott is a chemist–not an easy profession for a woman in the 1960s. As she battles daily discrimination, she finds some measure of contentment with Calvin Evans, a famous chemist whose quirks pair well with her own. When tragedy strikes, Elizabeth is left a single mother, kicked out of the lab, and desperate. Circumstances land her on camera, teaching the chemistry of cooking and captivating the country.
Overly progressive characters in historical fiction sometimes ring false, but Elizabeth Zott is singular and wonderfully drawn. Elizabeth has elements of Ove’s curmudgeonly charm and has some wonderfully quirky friends and family members who bring out her best.
Leena, a 20-something overachiever, is good at her job. But she’s also burned out, and her boss has forced her to take a 2-month break. She goes to her grandmother Eileen’s house, and they find that Eileen could use a little shake-up as well.
So Leena stays in Eileen’s small English town, while Eileen goes to Leena’s London flat. Adventures, quirky characters, and a little romance ensues for both. Put this in the lighthearted, charming, and delightfully cozy read category–and on your reading list.
Missy Carmichael is lonely and full of regret. At 79, she spends her days alone in her big old house in England, nursing sherry and past hurts, and missing her son and grandson in Australia, and her estranged daughter. When Sylvie and Angela, along with Angela’s young son, push their way into Missy’s life, she is both hesitant and hopeful. And when a dog is brought into the mix, she gets more than she bargained for.
Readers who liked A Man Called Ove will enjoy Missy Carmichael. The circumstances and voices are different, but the heartwarming and unlikely friendships feel much the same. This is delightful on audio; Angela’s raw bluntness alongside Missy’s genteel fussiness occasionally made me laugh out loud.
If what you loved about Ove was his fierce adherence to his own ways, you might like Joan. Joan is a scientist, an attending physician at a Manhattan hospital. She relishes her job, her usefulness, and as such, the feeling of being a cog in the wheel. When her father dies, she takes only a weekend to fly to China for the funeral, though his loss permeates her life in the months that follow.
She is an enigma to her family, coworkers, and neighbors, all of whom try in different ways to forge connections and draw her from her work-focused ways. When the hospital makes her take off for bereavement, the newfound time forces her to examine her identity more closely than she has in ages. The tone and Joan’s path are different from Ove’s, but I loved being in Joan’s very literal head and her full acceptance of herself.
Elizabeth and Jo are friends who live in a small town on Ireland’s west coast. When Elizabeth’s physician husband dies and leaves her with a mountain of debt, Jo asks her daughter, Lucy, to take over his surgery while Elizabeth sorts things out. Lucy arrives from Dublin with her teen son and seems in need of healing herself. Jo lets the two in on her secret: midnight plunges in the ocean bring peace.
As the three try to sort out their lives, the midnight swims become central–and become a community rallying point when Jo has her own challenges to face. Like A Man Called Ove, it’s charming, heartwarming, and filled with wonderful friendships.
Felix Pink is a retired widower who volunteers as an Exiteer–someone who stays with terminally ill people as they die by suicide. It is a mission of mercy and compassion, and the volunteers operate on just the edge of UK law. When one of his visits goes horribly wrong, Felix is dodging the police and trying to find out what actually happened.
Don’t let the ominous cover and dark description put you off. They really don’t do this book justice–it is surprisingly delightful. Felix is lovely and well-meaning, and many of the other characters are as well, which makes for many chuckle-worthy interactions. Dark themes and shady characters are a part of it, yes, but this is much more like A Man Called Ove than an edge-of-your-seat thriller.