Anxious People

Original Title:Folk med ångest
Published Date:8th Sep 2020
Publisher:Atria Books
Edition Language:English
Format:Hardcover
Number of Pages:376 Pages
Rating :
About Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World, his first work of non-fiction, will be released in the US in May 2019. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @backmansk.

Anxious People Overview

This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

Anxious People Reviews

  • ‘we are doing the best we can, we really are...’ this message is the heart of this story. ‘…we all have this in common, yet most of us remain strangers, we never know what we do to each other, how your life is affected by mine. when this day is over and the night takes us, allow yourself a deep breath. because we made it through another day.’ and this is the heart of us readers.this is a story that will speak to everyone who picks it up - from the anxious to the confident, from the broken to the loved, from the young to the old, and everyone in between. the fact that FB can take such heavy topics about people and life and so respectfully explore them in a light-hearted way is still truly astounding to me. and its truly a testament to FBs writing skills that he can continue to construct stories that are relevant and not only resonate with, but emotionally touch, such a wide audience. this story is nothing short of the perfection FB consistently creates. ↠ 4.5 stars
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  • This is a quirky novel that made me chuckle aloud several times. People are at an apartment viewing when a bank robber, trying to avoid capture after a robbery gone wrong, stumbles into this group, inadvertently creating a hostage situation. Each of the people involved in this standoff has their unique stories, flaws, issues. This book is so funny and touching. It’s a lot of fun and you should definitely put it on your To Be Read list.Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel, which RELEASES SEPTEMBER 8, 2020.
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  • If I were to rate only the first half of this book, I would honestly have nothing positive to say. The characters were absolutely insufferable and I was struggling to care about anything that was happening. HOWEVER, as the book went on, I really grew to love all of the characters and ended up sobbing my way through the last 10% of the book. While I did end up really liking this one in the end, it definitely did have it's issues. Not only with the rocky first half, but there were also a lot of weird insensitive jokes that definitely could have just.. not happened? and the book wouldn't have suffered without them. But overall, this book and these characters snuck themselves inside my heart and I am SO glad that I read it. If you can handle the subject matter (this book deals VERY heavily with suicide and suicidal ideation), I definitely think this is worth the read. TW: suicide, depression, addiction, terminal illness, dementia, death of a loved one
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  • 5 starsOK, so according to the author, this book is about a botched bank robbery, an apartment open house, and a hostage situation. That’s it. And most everyone in the story is an idiot. Again, author’s words. Does this sound like a must-read to you? No? It certainly doesn’t to me either. But I read it because I have faith in said author to deliver a great story no matter how boring the premise. Did I like it? Yes, I did. I actually loved it. And I loved it enough to put it in my potential “best book of the year” category (which only has one other book in it so far). Wow, this author. Fredrik Backman sure understands the human struggle. The struggle to survive, to connect, to love, to do the right thing by others, and to just live a decent life. He could take an empty room with white-washed walls, beige carpeting, no windows, and two people and turn the scene into a Pulitzer prize-winning novel. And he does it with humor. Ridiculous humor—my kind of humor. I laughed out loud many times during this story but cried throughout the last several chapters, which served brilliantly as the epilogue. Early on I read one of his novellas. I think I gave it a two-star rating. What the hell was wrong with me then? I never reread anything, but I’m going to reread that novella and see what I think of it now. More than 2 stars worth, I’m sure. This story is chock full of fascinating characters, 12 in all, I believe. Most of them are misfits—anxious misfits, and it was so captivating to follow them through this essentially one-day story. All at the same time this book is compelling, heartfelt, inspiring, and ridiculous. I can’t write well enough to really give this novel its due. Just trust me when I say you need to read it. It will be good for your soul.Thank you Net Galley, Atria Books/Simon and Shuster, and Fredrik Backman for allowing me to read an ARC of this book. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
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  • My first book by Fredrik Backman and I'm not really sure what to think of it! Its both funny and heartbreaking, but also very weird/quirky/ and downright strange!!I really enjoyed the first chapters and the build up of what was happening with the hostage situation in the apartment complex. I did struggle as the book progressed and some parts were so silly to me that I couldn't imagine how this book was going to come together to make any sense, but in the end it does. You have to be quite a talented author to weave a puzzle like this one.Favorite chapters involved the police interviewing witnesses. They really had a time getting any of the characters to give them a straight answer. A crazy tale and there is a lot to tackle with as far as themes, but I think Backman fans will enjoy. I hope to read more from this author.Thanks to Atria for my review copy! Out on Sept 8, 2020
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  • Fredrik Backman demonstrates with style and panache his remarkable and astute understanding of what it is to be human in this profound and philosophical locked room mystery that beguiles in how it pulls at our heartstrings, with its emotionally charged heartbreak, tragedy, humour and in the joy of human connectivity. He creates a host of stellar and diverse characters, including a rabbit, anxious, with messy and chaotic lives, and their idiocy, not only their idiocy, but all of our idiocy too. This is the perfect read for our troubled times, resonating deeply at so many levels, and if you don't connect with it immediately, I urge you to stick with it, the pay off will come in spades. When everything goes wrong for a bank robber, he ends up holding a group of hostages at an apartment viewing.In this character driven narrative, with its maze like twists and turns, there are surprises as we learn of the stories of these characters, each of whom are skilfully developed. When the police storm the apartment, the bank robber has disappeared, what happened? The characters are interviewed, but all to little avail. Backman's storytelling is full of hope in how it zeroes in on the state of the human soul, outlining the incomparable value of kindness, understanding, humanity, forgiveness and compassion in a world of human idiocy. I found this novel to be reading of the highest order, so entertaining, with the ability to make you laugh and cry. It is a touching novel that cements Backman's reputation as a terrific must read author, smart, offbeat and imaginative. I have no hesitation in recommending this highly, I have no doubt I will be returning to it, time and time again in the future. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
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  • PUBLISHING TOMORROW!Fredrik Backman's writing is lyrical, whimsical, and heartwarming. It feels like hanging out with a very witty and observant friend who has the language to describe everything you are witnessing together perfectly and humorously. This book got me in the feels.I could tell you that this book is a closed room mystery about a bank robbery gone wrong or that it is about "idiots" or that it is about human spirit and human frailty but none of those pieces would come close to describing the impact that the sum of the parts have on the whole of the reader's soul.Poignant, hilarious, redemptive...5 brilliant stars.Thank you to Fredrik Backman, Atria and Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Anxious People is the fifth book I've read by Fredrik Backman. It is his newest release, which I found on NetGalley (thank you), and I would definitely encourage others to read it. Backman is one of those authors who was meant to be an author -- he has a deep understanding of human nature, knows how to build suspense and emotion, and includes so many surprises in the plot. He also ensures you have a book hangover for days after finishing his work!A bank robber who really never meant to be a bank robber ends up escaping and holding a group of people hostage in an apartment viewing. It's all accidental, and the anxiety we see covers a cast of about ten main characters, each who comes at the story with a very different perspective. The tale weaves in and out, revealing connections and history, all the while moving the police interviews forward. The bank robber was never found. None of the hostages are talking about what happened in the end. And the two policemen seem to be at odds over who was responsible for which piece of the investigation. Something is definitely going on below the surface.When I began reading, it wasn't an immediate love. I found it choppy and meandering without enough clarity for me to latch on to. I later realized that was intentional and necessary. I should've known better in the beginning, as I was hesitating to read it the second day. While I adored three of his past books, one wasn't a good match, so I worried this was gonna end up that same way. Trust me, hang on... while there are a few sections that you can tell were intentionally confusing (not the best tool for an author to choose, but one that can work well in limited quantities), for the most part, it's very straightforward. It's just a matter of reading between the lines and figuring out what isn't being said.Imagine you are held hostage. The gun appears fake. The bank robber's story is an emotional one. You've got your own issues to deal with. They're all neurotic in their own ways... would you let the bank robber get away with it? No harm was done, other than the fear you might be hurt. But based on the way the events unfold, there really wasn't any danger, it seemed... so... maybe you might say "Let the bank robber go" if things turned out the same way for you. I don't know... I'm pretty big on people being held accountable for their actions. Not only did the bank robber try to rob a bank, fail, and then escape, but the bank robber also waved a gun at 7 or 8 people in an apartment viewing down the block and basically held them hostage. So that's two bad things, which means it's really a bit of an innate thing. That said, it was all for the same reason, and potentially a good one, but still.... I ramble. Backman does that to you.My biggest concern was the way many of the other people handled the situation. All a little contrived to some degree, but still entertaining and quite real in many aspects. I considered pushing up to a 4.5, but there were too many plot items that just didn't add up enough for me. So... I still say it's a must-read but you have to let go of your own anxieties and expectations and recognize this is more about people's neuroses and reactions, not whether this could've legitimately happened. When I do that, it's an easy 5 stars because Backman captures people's true nature better than no other author I know.
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  • “This was a story about many different things, but most of all about idiots. Because we’re doing the best we can, we really are. We’re trying to be grown-up and love each other and understand how the hell you’re supposed to insert USB leads. We are looking for something to cling onto, something to fight for, something to look forward to. We’re doing all we can to teach our children how to swim”. Love Fredrik Backman? Long time fan? Me too!New to Backman? His stories ... in the most raw sense of the word....are about humanity! “How do you manage to have such a long marriage? she asked”. “You fight for it, Estelle replied honestly”. “Julia didn’t seem to like that quite as much”. “That doesn’t sound very romantic”. “Estelle grinned knowingly. “You have to listen to each other all the time. But not ‘all’ the time. If you listen to each other ‘all’ the time, there’s a risk that you can’t forgive each other afterward”. “And that’s the weirdest thing about being someone’s parent. Not just a bank robber parent, but any parent: that you are loved in spite of everything that you are. Even astonishingly late in life, people seem incapable of considering that their parents might not be super- smart and really funny and immortal. Perhaps there’s a biological reason for that, that up to a certain age a child loves you unconditionally and hopelessly for one single reason: you’re theirs. Which is a pretty smart move on biology’s heart, you have to give it that”. Fredrik Backman has an exceptional keen eye ...a brilliant light touch... for the way that tragic, comic, and tenderness mingle together. This book reminded me of how short life really is. During our journey we see changes, possibly the truth, hopefully love, and an openness for reconciliation. ...Touching and relatable .......Beautiful, quirky, playful, compelling, urgent, funny,and compassionate. Thank you Atria Books, Netgalley, and Fredrik Backman
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  • I'm a firm believer in how a book will almost magically find its way into your hands at the exact right moment and when it does it can be an extremely powerful reading experience. That was the case for me with Anxious People. The message of the story is something I desperately needed to hear right now. Will everyone be a weepy mess like I was when I finished the book? Probably not, but I do think it is going to hit home with quite a few people. While this was my first book I have read by this much loved author, it certainly won't be my last.The premise sounds fairly simple but yet the author created a complex tale. A bank robber holds a group of people hostage in an apartment building. After a standoff the hostages are released. Police enter the apartment but they can't find the bank robber. What happened? Well, police conduct interviews with the witnesses to get answers.The author has a bit of a quirky writing style which took me a few chapters to get used to but I did grow to love it. I think a story like this could have gotten out of hand and over the top very easily but the author did a nice job staying in bounds. It wasn't too much of a stretch of my imagination to believe in the characters and plot. There's heart to the story which was a nice balance to the humorous parts.While some readers are big on underlining quotes or marking them to read again later in books, I rarely do it. Maybe once a month or so I find a line that sticks with me and I want to revisit it later. With this book, I have six pages in which I doggy eared the page so I could go back and read the parts that strongly resonated with me. What I find amazing about this story is there's enough here in which each reader might pull something different from it. If you are asking each reader what was the message of the story the answers could vary. I found myself reflecting on my life while reading the book and when you have the opportunity to do that, it's often a meaningful reading experience which was the case here. Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • [Thank you to the publisher for sending me an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. The book will be available in the U.S. on September 8, 2020.]I've been a fan of Fredrik Backman's for a while now. When I first read most famous title A Man Called Ove, I could tell there was something special to his work. And from there I think his books have only gotten better. He connects with readers through his poignant and reflective writing style that often muses on larger themes like the meaning of life, human connection, and love through the specific and often quirky stories of his characters. That definitely can be said of this novel as well.Anxious People tells the story of a bank robbery gone wrong. It ends up turning into a hostage situation in an apartment complex across from the bank, and the story picks up as we zoom in and out of the apartment into the lives of each of the characters involved. There's our bank robber, a few couples, one or two single individuals, and the cops that are handling (or attempting to handle) the situation. As with all of Backman's books, there is more than meets the eye in each of their lives and fate has a way of bringing together strangers in unlikely ways.My biggest problem with this book was the pacing. The first 100 pages or so are quite redundant. Every time we are introduced to a new character, the exposition felt the same as the previous one. And in between these character intros are interludes that bring us back to the present day hostage situation. There are also transcriptions of dialogues between the characters and the police as they are interviewing them that read quickly but lack depth. On top of that, some of the dialogue and the way people treat each other seemed too far fetched for me (even for a Backman book, this heightened drama seemed less relatable and significant than some of his other books). Perhaps some of these issues will be edited out by the time the book hits the shelves in a month or so (though I have no idea if that will be the case).Regarding the characters, I enjoyed reading about them but felt much more like an observer than a participant. With Backman's other books, especially his duology Beartown and Us Against Them, you can't help but feel invested in the lives of the characters, as if you are part of this small community. Here we see things on such a limited scope, and then are told, rather than shown, everything we need to know about the characters' backstories, that the usual connection I feel to Backman's work was lacking.Of course there are some great quotes to pull from this book about life and love and treating each other with kindness. That's to be expected from Backman at this point, and he delivers. But sadly that wasn't enough to really push this book up the list for me in terms of favorite Backman novels. I'm sure avid fans will still enjoy this one—and based on other early reviews for the U.S. edition and older reviews of the original Swedish version, my opinion seems to be an outlier. So take all of that with a grain of salt, and if you are interested in the story based on the premise alone, you will likely enjoy this one. If it's your first introduction to Backman, however, might I recommend diving into his backlist first as there is so much goodness and warmth to be discovered through his stories. This one, ultimately, fell a bit flat.
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  • This is a story about idiots What? Yes, idiots! A bank robber attempts to rob a cashless bank asking for a very specific and low amount of kroner. It descends into a hostage situation at a apartment being viewed for sale by potential buyers. The hostages are eventually released after inevitably had pizza delivered - as that happens at every hostage situation, right? The police storm in, find blood but no robber. All the hostages are interviewed by police officers Jim and Jack a father and son, who are among others, anxious people. I love Bachman’s digressions which frequently aren’t, but it’s funny and is typical of how a mind flits from subject to subject. Well, mine does anyway! There are so many acutely pertinent and acutely observed statements about people, society, Stockholm (!) and Stockholmers, age gaps and social media among others. The writing is funny, emotional, heart breaking, heart warming, and moving in equal measure. The characters are fantastic, I especially like Estelle, the oldest hostage at 87. She’s fab. I have a sneaking admiration for London the bank clerk, who though rude, did provide so real laugh out loud moments. She’s ballsy too! What can I say about the hostage rabbit? Well, that’s an unusual image if nothing else, especially as he was trouserless!!!! That enters the realms of rather bonkers!! The interviews between Jack/Jim and the hostages are also barking, nuts, crazy but there is a reason ......... and I like it! The story is full of connections though you don’t initially see how they can possible be connected as they seem so random. Overall, a highly entertaining read that via zany humour makes some astute observations and keeps you interested throughout. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin, Michael Joseph for the ARC.
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  • I'll cut to the chase: Anxious People is one of the best books I've read this year and in a long time, hands down. I think I'm going to need at least a couple of weeks (or, uh, MONTHS) to really unpack everything that was in this novel.Fredrik Backman is a master at unraveling the human condition. If that wasn't already impressive enough, his prose and dark humor are so original that you really can't help but compulsively read what he's written, and the fact that all of the larger meta questions he's putting front and center are wrapped up in a classic bank-robbery-gone-wrong mystery is all the better.Often if I like books I'll just wax poetic about them for a good, long while, but I don't think anything I say can really do this one justice. It's beautiful, it's tragic, it's heartwarming, it's depressing, it's funny, and it's serious. My only content warning is that it deals with suicide, mental illness, and death, so be prepared.The bottom line: I feel lucky to have read this novel. And isn't that the highest praise you can give a book?
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  • This is a story about a bank robbery gone wrong.It's also a story of a hostage drama, in an Apartment Viewing. And, it's a story about idiots. (Author’s words!)Now Picture Abbott and Costello as a father and son Police duo, in a small town-First they have to "google" what to do in a hostage situation AND then they have to INTERVIEW the hostages after they are released to try to determine how the bank robber, turned hostage taker, managed to get away...and why the hostages turned witnesses are so uncooperative and hostile!?The humor of these situations reminded me of the Abbott and Costello skit:Who's on First? (see a clip on YouTube) IF this is the kind of humor that has you laughing out loud, this is a book for you! Although it isn’t really MY kind of humor- I LOVED ❤️ how the author wrapped it all up at the end! 🎁The writing is folksy.The message is clear....It may be difficult to be kind to idiots...but cut them some slack, and be kind anyway!! Being human is hard-we’ve all been an idiot at one time or another, trying to get it right! Available Sept. 8, 2020Thank You to Simon & Schuster for my gifted copy! All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • **Now Available**5 Powerful Stars“Anxious People” is a thought provoking, heart-wrenching, comical novel that leaves you in wonderment. It’s Fredrik Backman at his best. At its heart, this book deals with human connection and the impact people have on each other. It showcases Mr. Backman’s talent in an entirely new way and it is another reminder as to why he is one of my favorite authors.Fredrik Backman is an author who has an innate ability to capture the human spirit, get under his characters’ skins and relay his characters thoughts and feelings in a way that makes us feel as if we know them, as if we are friends with them and at times, as if we are them. “Anxious People” is different from Backman’s other novels, there are no quirky curmudgeons like Ove or Britt-Marie and there are no Benji’s. This story features a Bank Robber, a Hostage Situation, a Real Estate Agent and an entire cast of other extremely complicated characters. This is a character driven novel and it delves into the trials and tribulations of each individual whose lives are affected by the situation that they are in. I had no idea what I was in for when I dived in - what I will say is that each and every character will steal your heart. It’s that thing called human connection. Within just a few minutes of reading this, tears pricked my eyes and I knew from that moment on that this book was special. It is wild and crazy and unlike anything you’ve ever read. At times you will be exasperated and yet you will keep reading. One minute you will be laughing and the next you will be in tears. For me, it happened and happened often. Once again, Fredrik Backman does something special here and I’m so very grateful for it. “Anxious People” is a must read and will most certainly be on my Goodreads Best of List for 2020. This novel reminded me that everything I do can potentially impact others and therefore, I must think before I act. It also reminded me how important human connection is and how grateful I am for the relationships I have built with all of you. Though times are difficult right now, I am thankful that we have each other. I wish you all good health, peace and safety. Namaste. A huge thank you to Ms. Ariele Friedman at Atria Books and NetGalley for the arc. Thank you also to Fredrik Backman for continuing to write such incredible words. You inspire me.Published on Goodreads on 5.9.2020.
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  • Wow! That was fantastic! This book is about.....being human. I have only read one other book by this author and it was Ove. I am probably the only person on this earth that didn't enjoy that book. I was like what is all the fuss about? Umm yeah ...THIS....this right here is what all the fuss is about. This author is absolutely brilliant to be able to put this story together in the manner that he did. I am going to say one thing...Kevin Bacon...Nope Kevin Bacon is not in this book, but just keep that in the back of your mind...Let me know if you get it after you read this. Why did I love this book so much? Oh my gosh, there are sooo many reasons. It was so amazingly clever that you would be reading along thinking you knew exactly what was going on...and then I would literally stop dead in my tracks and go OMG...wow...really? Yet it all made perfect sense. It is such a well thought out progression throughout the story, that it simply amazes me that someone can dig in that deep and produce that for us. Yes, yes, I am now a fangirl, I admit.Here's a little what to expect without spoiling anything for you, because you will never forgive me if I did! Expect a bank robber who attempts to rob a cashless bank.. Hmm okay bank robber, I had no idea that was a thing either, so I am right there with you. The "worst hostages ever." Man these hostages were entertaining. A guy wearing a rabbit costume (only the head) standing in his underwear smoking a cigarette. Yep that is an example of your hostages! SO entertaining, with a witty, snarky, dry humor...little snippets by the author- telling us not to think about cookies, aww now I want a cookie. We really got to see what made each character in the book tick. The character development was superb! The story was so unique, that piece by piece it fell into place.It constantly kept turning out one surprise after another. Super clever. ❤️Obviously....I loved it! Grab a copy as soon as you can, this is a must read! I can't thank Atria Books enough for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book knocked my socks off!
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  • It’s always such a treat to read a Fredrik Backman book.I confess, my reading slump is the worst it’s been in many years. The current climate doesn’t do anything for my literature reading mojo, still, I pushed myself to read this. I loved the plot and the concept of this book and how Backman brought everyone’s stories together.Yet again, Backman’s understanding of human nature shines through. Everybody has a story, everybody hurts and most people have anxieties, ranging from daily life anxieties to the more serious kind. There’s suicide, suicide attempts, grief, trauma, loneliness, relationship breakdown, and self-loathing. All these serious aspects are well balanced out by humour, be it observational or situational. As I read on, my enjoyment and appreciation of this novel grew exponentially. I don’t know what it is about Backman’s books, they just make me soft. For whatever reason, I never resent him for doing that to me. Backman’s books are always killing me softly.So, get anxious people, in the exciting kind of way, this upcoming novel is another fantastic read from Fredrik Backman. Many thanks to Atria Books, Simon and Schuster for the advanced reading copy of Anxious People.
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  • MY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2020I didn't want this to end so I read it a second time and some parts more than that, and I'm sad that it's time to call time, but it is.This is a the story of a bank robber who, oops, tries to rob a cashless bank then panics, runs across the street and right into a realtor's apartment viewing, panicking even more and taking everyone there hostage. The opening sentence of "Beartown" is one of my favorite opening sentences of all time. The opening paragraph of "Anxious People" is great but it's the first sentence of the second paragraph that I love best (advance copy disclaimer): "This story is about a lot of things, but mostly idiots." "Anxious People" is all about idiots, and that's us -- and if you think you're not an idiot, I won't argue with you because you're an idiot. We're not idiots all the time. We're not heroes all the time. We don't do the right thing all the time. We do our best and some days can't even manage that. "Anxious People" is hilarious except when it's not. There's a mystery and the entire book reminds me of a slide puzzle in that you think you get what's happening but not until every last piece is in place can you see the entire picture. It has twists and surprises until the very end. The characters are terrific. The hostages include a very pregnant and thus cranky lesbian and her earnest spouse, one of those people who seems to always manage to say the wrong thing; a buttoned-up banker; a sweet and slightly enigmatic elderly lady and a bored older married couple whose idea of fun is going to Ikea. And the rabbit, ha. There's a terrific pair of cops. And pizza. I read the entire book twice but there's one part with pizza I've probably read ten times. There's also a bridge which the apartment looks out on, which has been the scene of suicide and attempted suicide. And there's a therapist, because for those who think they can't handle things but can and those who think they can but can't, those who've been affected by someone else's jump and those who think about doing it, therapy can be the bridge back to the safe mainland of a mind at rest. "Anxious People" is funny, moving and delightful. Frederik Backman can do it all, make a hockey game the most important one of your life not just theirs, make a hostage crisis entertaining and meaningful. He's clear-eyed, witty, understands human nature very well and has a generous heart. He's such a gifted writer we start getting to know his characters quickly through a few lines of dialogue or a single action. With its short chapters and intervals of police interviews and therapy sessions, "Anxious People" moves at a quick pace. There wasn't a page where I didn't laugh out loud at least once and there were times I cried. I'm sad to move on and will end by plagiarizing the end of my review of another Backman book: Frederick Backman, you amaze. Heartfelt thanks to Ariele Fredman at Atria and to Atria for the advance MS.
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  • Good news: This amazing is about to be adapted in Swedish series. And fingers crossed, I hope Netflix buys this limited series so we may enjoy them! This is one of my favorite, highly recommended fiction novels of 2020! I think my vocabulary is so limited to express how this book made me feel. Yes, it shook me so hard but it also entertained the hell of me. It was tragic, tear jerker, but it was also funny, enjoyable, witty! It was action packed, riveting, heart throbbing but it was also thought-provoking, complex, dazzling, deceptive, educational and heartfelt.I know you got confused. How a book makes laugh so hard and then makes you cry like a baby and also hooks you up from its riveting, exciting chapters and at some parts you want to stop, taking a deep breath to absorb what you read, aching for characters, feeling their pain but you’re also laughing their ridiculousness! This book captivates your heart, brain and your soul at the same time and plays with your emotional balance, juggling between different genres and you just want to clap the author and take a bow for his remarkable, original, unique work.His sarcastic, witty and dark sense of humor reminded me of Guy Ritchie’s crime/dark comedy scripts (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) and his quirky, sarcastic, awkward characters slowly warms your heart and entertains the hell of you! As soon as I finish it, I turned back and reread the police interrogation parts of the book and I laughed over and over!!!So what this book is about? Bunch of idiot people? YESAn unsuccessful bank robbery attempt and hostage situation? YES. What a minute! If the robbery is unsuccessful, how the thief managed to take hostages? And how many hostages he has? 8 hostages!Is this book about suicide attempts on the bridge? YES!Is this about stock markets, mortgages, banking system and destroying effects of capitalism makes rich people richer and makes you poor… yes, you may fill the blanks…! YES!I guess you must be confused again but don’t! Even though the book looks like a puzzle, all the pieces find their right place and so many twists that you may not foresee confuse you more but at the end you realize you read something so spectacular make you question your morals, your judgments, beliefs, the way you look at the life and test your decency.Jack and Jim, police officers, son and father, carrying Whiskey brand names, are anxious people who are not happy about their lives, polar opposites, barely stand with each other but unfortunately they are still colleagues and they’re interrogating hostages about the whereabouts of the bank robber. Oh sorry, the guy couldn’t rob the bank because the bank didn’t have enough money and young intern just called the cops so the unsuccessful bank robber runs into an apartment viewing. 8 people seeing the house become the worst bank robber’s reluctant hostages. But I have to admit they are the WORST BATSHIT CRAZY HOSTAGES you may imagine!Jack and Jim surrounded the building with their colleagues, called the big guns from Stockholm to save the hostages from another syndrome but they hear gun shot and when they go to check the building, they see the blood stains in the living room but amateur bank robber (you’re gonna understand my reasoning why I keep tell the robber this silly name after reading this book!) is nowhere to be seen. So Jack thinks one of the hostages helped the first time robber. Or they may hide something from them.So we’re moving back and forth between interrogations, the hostages’ back stories, secrets, the reasons behind they want to see the house. And naturally my favorite hostages are sarcastic, direct, cruel, smart, entertaining, cool Zara and golden-hearted Estelle (I wish she would be my grandma and her story broke my heart into pieces)The ending of the story (or let’s say new beginnings of the characters’ stories) was surprising but also heart melting, memorable, tear jerking. And I forget to add what this book is about… IT IS ABOUT REAL LOVE…Thanks to Atria Books/Simon Schuster for sending this special ARC to me in exchange my honest review. I love this author’s works so much and this is one of the best books I’ve read on 2020.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • 4 starsI was anxious to read this book, good anxious, as in I couldn’t wait to read it. Fredrik Backman has been on my list of favorite authors since I read A Man Called Ove several years ago. I’ve have read all of his published books and I loved all of them. But when I started reading this one, I became anxious in another way. I was anxious because I thought I was going to end up not liking the book. It’s kind of a quirky story, bizarre at times. The narrator even says , “The whole thing is a complicated, unlikely story. Perhaps that’s because what we think stories are about often isn’t what they’re about at all. This for instance, might not actually be the story of a bank robbery, or an apartment viewing, or a hostage drama. Perhaps, it isn’t even a story of idiots. Perhaps this story is about a bridge.” ( From an advanced copy.)A failed bank robbery that turns into an apartment hostage situation and it felt just a bit over the top, but then, as he always does, Backman sneaks up on you and you’re laughing one minute and heartbroken the next and ultimately your heart is stolen. I’m not even going to try to relay the plot here. Fans of Backman will want to read it for themselves. I will say, though, that I definitely was not disappointed and in the end, my anxiety was unwarranted. Its moving and reflective of Backman’s astute sense of humanity. A humanity in all of its glory as these characters share their anxieties over the burdens that life doles out, and they open their hearts to each other. I was reminded of the parental love and anxiety over children that we saw in the Beartown books, of relationships between a parents and children, of relationships between husband and wives. There’s some of the same seemingly simple prose conveying something more meaningful than at first glance in this novel as in the others. The relationships that developed between strangers were perhaps the most poignant. Connections slowly unfold between characters and I felt myself slowly connecting to all of them, especially the bank robber. This felt personal and philosophical in many ways. The intimate tone reminded me of Things My Son Needs to Know about the World. I loved that Backman created these characters who made me believe at a time when I needed believing, that there just might be people who will do something even if it seems they shouldn’t, just because it’s the right thing to do. I received an advanced copy of this book from Atria Books . A special thanks to Ariele Fredman.
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  • Review to come.*Disclosure- I received an advanced manuscript from the publisher, but arcs aren't available just yet.