Richard and Judy ask Fredrik Backman

Richard and Judy ask Fredrik Backman

Question 1: OK, the killer question – how much of Ove is in you?

A fair amount, of course. My usual response to this question is that most of Ove’s very best qualities, his sense of morals and duty and his conviction through-and-through about doing what is right, comes from my dad and my grandfathers and other men I’ve looked up to while growing up. And most of Ove’s very worst qualities, like his incapability of a proportional response to a very small crime, comes from myself. Ove and I have very, very, very many differences, but I would presume we yell pretty much the same way at the company charging us for the new satellite TV-box thingy that has a million buttons and NEVER works. ‘Have you tried restarting your satellite TV-bo…’ YES! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I RESTARTED IT! WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE OLD TV? TELL ME THAT! YOU KNOW WHAT THE OLD TV DID? WORKED! IT WORKED!!!

Question 2: Why has Ove grown up to be so irredeemably old-fashioned?

Well, if I went and asked your friends and your partner and your kids and your co-workers about the strange little habits that you have, they would probably describe you as somewhat rigid and set in your ways as well. Most people are. We just show it more or less. Some people get annoyed with Instagram, some people get annoyed with having to get an engineer’s degree just to be able to figure out how to change the radio channels in their new car. Some people don’t like it when a co-worker leans over and points at something on their computer screen and actually TOUCHES the screen and leaves fingerprints all over it. Some people get annoyed when they’re served coffee the wrong way or when some 15-year-old with a haircut that looks like the hairdresser did it at gun point records a cover of a 20-year-old love song and puts electric drums and those untzuntzuntz-beats in it and now it’s all over the goddamn radio and I don’t know how to change the channel on the stupid computer in this stupid new car. What was wrong with the old song? It was a perfectly good song! So, well, yes. You know. Every person I’ve ever met is old-fashioned in one way or another.

Question 3: ‘Son of Ove’ – what’s next? Can you tell us about your two following novels?

Well, I’ve written two more novels, My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises and Britt-Marie Was Here. I can tell you they’re books. Lots of pages in them. Words and stuff. The first one was called ‘much too long’ and ‘deeply in need of editing’ by one of the biggest newspapers in Sweden. The other one was reviewed as ‘the book is okay, but the author is really quite overrated’ by my wife.