Fredrik Backman is a #1 New York Times bestselling author responsible for some of the most charming, fun-loving fictional tales — which can all be read in one sitting! With five novels and two novellas published in over 40 countries across the world, and his lauded A Man Called Ove being adapted for a film — Backman has become a beloved figure in the genre.
Due to his success, popularity and the incredible canon of work he’s issued throughout the years, we’re casting our author spotlight on the heartwarming literary in hopes of inspiring others to immerse themselves the beautiful work he’s put forth.
Who is Fredrik Backman?
Backman, 35, lives with his wife and two children in Stockholm, Sweden. The writing process hasn’t always been easy for him, as he was told about his debut novel, “we like your novel, we think your writing has potential, but we see no commercial potential.” He also didn’t always identify as an author. He had a blog and would just write because he liked to. Becoming an author happened accidentally. Luckily, Backman continued to write, and A Man Called Ove, his first novel, is one of his most popular novels. He has always considered writing to be a hobby rather than a career and he still does today. Backman loves sports and has incorporated them into his books.
What has he written so far?
Backman currently has five novels and two novellas published. Both of these novels are told from the perspective of passionate and complex women who form a deep relationship with legendary artists. His novels, excluding Beartown and it’s sequel Us Against You, focus on one main character residing in a small town. The 5 books include A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, and Us Against You. The novellas Backman has written are The Deal of a Lifetime and And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. In his first three novels, the protagonists are characters the readers may not like right away but come to love by the end of the novel. In the other two novels, mainly focused on the town and the people living there, it is easy to connect with the characters right away.
Ove, Elsa, and Britt-Marie are the main characters in Backman’s first three novels. As each of their stories unfolds, they become a key part in the book’s ending. Each of these books also takes place in a small town where Backman is able to incorporate secondary characters that help strengthen the perspective of the main character. Ove, the star of Backman’s debut novel is seen as a grumpy old man who is very stuck in his traditional ways. However, throughout the novel, Ove grows closer to the neighbors and is not as sadistic as you may think. Elsa, the young girl Backman developed to pass on her grandmother’s messages, is whimsical, but also wise. As she grows during the story, she comes to see how different her grandmother’s life was than what she thought. Britt-Marie first gets introduced in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry as the uptight neighbor across the hall. In her own novel Britt-Marie Was Here, we get to see Backman’s love of sports start to peek through with the various soccer teams. We eventually see Britt-Marie open up, as well as how she lets go of bits and pieces of her old life.
His other 2 novels differ greatly from the first three. Beartown and its sequel Us Against You focuses on a town instead of one individual person. The books delve into the sport of ice hockey and how it impacts the people of the town. Even though there are multiple perspectives, Backman manages to fully develop each one, so the reader has the ability to connect with the whole story. These two books deliver powerful messages that make it impossible to stop reading.
Why should you read him?
The first book I read by Fredrik Backman was My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. I wasn’t reading my books in any particular order, so this was just a random choice. I flew through it, the writing style was simple but effervescent at the same time. I thought the story was beautiful, and I knew that I had to have all of the other books Backman has written.
When I started reading my books in alphabetical order, Backman was at the beginning of my list. I couldn’t put any of them down and ended up reading one right after the other. I didn’t expect for any of these books to make me cry, but by the time I finished each one the tears were flowing. Backman’s small towns, poignant characters, and simple writing styles easily captivated me, and if that’s not enough, then you should just read his books!
If you don’t know where to start, I would personally read his books in the order they were published. I think the story just gets better and better as Backman continues to write. All of the books have individual charm, but you can definitely tell that they were all written by the same person. His storytelling is exceptional and I would gladly read any of his books over again.