by Fredrik Backman
353 pages. Atria Books.
A bank robbery turns into a hostage situation. Told in the witty way Backman wrote A Man Called Ove, Anxious People tells the story of two cops, a bank robber, a real estate agent and seven hostages. All of who are facing different challenges in their lives and relationships. Some of them were witnesses to an event ten years prior, which set a thread in the story in motion.
I know that sounds vague. It’s kind of hard to describe the story without spoilers.
My book club said it reminded them of Ove, a bunch of grumpy people who learn happiness and connection in the end. They didn’t really care for the book. But I loved it.
As it is many times when I like a book and no one else in the group does, it’s usually because I listened to it. A well-narrated audiobook can make a story come alive. Or it could have been due to not being in the mood to read about so many people with so many issues.
I laughed out loud and almost cried in several places. There is a depth to the characters that connected with me. The way we can be grumpy or come across a certain way, but in the end, we’re all doing our best. I loved the moral, “if the world ends tomorrow, still fix the baseboard today.”
Anxious People was one of my favorite books of the year so far. I loved the pacing, the characterization, the flawed but basically good people. It was unplausible, but still had a certain reality to it. Backman is definitely one of my favorite writers.