Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

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.

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My Thoughts:

Anxious People is very different from author Fredrik Backman’s prior books. There is no misunderstood, lonely curmudgeon or hockey-playing teens. There are plenty of interesting characters though.

The characters are introduced a bit haphazardly. The story layout is interesting with after-the-crime police interrogations interspersed with real-time action. At first, it seems disjointed, but a few chapters in, and the flow of the story becomes apparent. This is not a book to be skimmed or read quickly. The subtle statements about and from each character eventually become woven together so that readers see a rich pattern of how each of our own decisions to act or not act can have a significant impact on someone else.

Anxious People is a study of human nature done with a bit of dry humor and a lot of compassion for we humans who try hard but are still imperfect. A #MustRead2020 book.

About the Author: Fredrik Backman’s 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

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