Web Stories Thursday, July 25

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish author who gained fame from his debut novel “A Man Called Ove.” 

The book that was originally published in Sweden had a slow start in the United States, but after 18 months, it popped up on The New York Times bestsellers list and remained there for 42 weeks, according to The New York Times.


Today, the book has sold over three million copies, according to Simon & Schuster. 

Since Backman’s initial novel, he has continued to release other popular titles, such as “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” and “Anxious People.” 

If you’ve recently discovered the Swedish author via the book store or social media, this is what you need to know about Backman.

  1. In what order should I read Fredrik Backman’s books?
  2.  What language does Fredrik Backman write in?
  3. What are the three books in the “Beartown” trilogy?
  4. Where does Fredrik Backman live?
  5. Why did they change Ove to Otto in the movie?

1. In what order should I read Fredrik Backman’s books?

You can read Backman’s books in whatever order you’d like, since each book tells its own story. 

The only exception to this is the “Beartown” books, as there are three novels in the series. 

If you so choose, you can read Backman’s novels in the order in which they were released. 

If you opt for this approach, the first book you’ll read is “A Man Called Ove,” Backman’s debut novel. This book was released in 2012 in Sweden before being published in English. 

The next novel of Backman’s is “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” which was originally published in 2013. 

After that, Backman released “Britt-Marie Was Here,” originally published in 2014, followed by the first two books of the “Beartown” series. 

The last book of the series, “The Winners,” is Backman’s newest novel, which was originally published in 2022. Between the second and third book of the “Beartown” series, Backman published the novel “Anxious People.” 


Other works by Backman include the novella “And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer,” the short story “The Deal of a Lifetime” and the collection of essays that came together for the book “Things My Son Needs to Know About the World.” 

2. What language does Fredrik Backman write in?

Backman writes in Swedish, though his novels have been translated into more than 25 languages, including English, since the success of his debut novel.

Even though Backman eventually found success in the United States and many other countries with his debut novel, “A Man Called Ove,” publishers were not initially interested in Backman’s work.

“It was rejected by one publisher with the line, ‘We like your novel, we think your writing has potential, but we see no commercial potential,'” Backman told The New York Times. “That note I kept.”

3. What are the three books in the “Beartown” trilogy?

The first of the books, centered on the decline of a small town high school hockey team, was the 2016 novel “Beartown.” Readers gain insight into how a small community comes together to achieve a big dream.

The second book of the series, titled “Us Against You,” was released the following year. Readers will not understand much of the second book if the first isn’t read in advance.

The last book in the series is Backman’s newest novel, “The Winners.” 

In this book, Backman revisits Beartown and the community as a whole first met in the first book of the series.

"Beartown" book on desk

4. Where does Fredrik Backman live?

Backman lives in Stockholm, Sweden, according to his website. 

He lives with his wife, two kids and a dog. His busy home life forces him to get creative when he is consuming literature himself. 

“As I mentioned, I have kids and a dog, so my dreams of a reading experience are limited to just being left alone for 10 minutes just about anywhere,” Backman told The New York Times. “And the thing is that when my children were small, I kind of got used to reading in very uncomfortable situations, sitting on the bathroom floor while they were bathing or on a narrow wooden bench in some gymnasium waiting for a soccer game, so now I can’t be too comfortable anywhere because I’ll fall asleep.”

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He continued, “A hammock or a nice sofa? Forget about it. But a chair, just uncomfortable enough, on a balcony just above a very busy street would probably be my favorite. Other than that, I love to read in a room where my wife is also reading.”

5. Why did they change Ove to Otto in the movie?

In 2022, a movie was released based on Backman’s debut novel, “A Man Called Ove.” As the title reveals, the main character in the movie is named Otto, different from the name of the character in the book. 


The name change was simply a matter of setting. The original story in the book and the first movie released in 2015, are set in Sweden, but in the 2022 movie, the main character lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Therefore, his name was changed to better fit the setting, according to Screen Rant. 

Tom Hanks at "A Man Called Otto" premiere

The 2022 film starred Tom Hanks as Otto Anderson.

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