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Ove is fifty-nine.
He drives a Saab. He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t
like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s
flashlight. He stands at the counter of a shop where owners of Japanese cars
come to purchase white cables. Ove eyes the sales assistant for a long time
before shaking a medium-sized white box at him.
“So this is one of those O-Pads, is it?” he demands.
The assistant, a young man with a single-digit body mass index, looks ill
at ease. He visibly struggles to control his urge to snatch the box out of Ove’s
“Yes, exactly. An iPad. Do you think you could stop shaking it like
that . . . ?”


It was five to six in the morning when Ove and the cat met for the first
time. The cat instantly disliked Ove exceedingly. The feeling was very much
Ove had, as usual, gotten up ten minutes earlier. He could not make head
nor tail of people who overslept and blamed it on “the alarm clock not
ringing.” Ove had never owned an alarm clock in his entire life. He woke up
at quarter to six and that was when he got up.
Every morning for the almost four decades they had lived in this house,
Ove had put on the coffee percolator, using exactly the same amount of
coffee as on any other morning, and then drank a cup with his wife. One
measure for each cup, and one extra for the pot—no more, no less. People
didn’t know how to do that anymore, brew some proper coffee. In the same
way as nowadays nobody could write with a pen. Because now it was all
computers and espresso machines. And where was the world going if people
couldn’t even write or brew a pot of coffee?