Anxious People, a review by Sherry

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Anxious People
Fredrik Backman

Narrator, Marin Ireland 10 hours
352 pages
Published September 8, 2020 Atria Books/Simon and Schuster Audio

I am such a huge fan of Fredrik Backman’s work and Anxious People didn’t change that.  A note for those new to the author, the book is written in Swedish and is translated to English.  As I read each new book of his, I keep wondering how he’s able to keep coming up with fresh characters that translate so well to other cultures. 


While the book jacket claims this is a book about a bank robber and hostages, this is a book about people.  The book begins by telling the reader that it is a story about hostages and as the book progresses, the story just keeps adding what it is about.  A bank robbery that may not have happened, a suicide, an attempted suicide, an apartment viewing and so forth.  There is a great cast of characters including a bank robber, a bank teller, a real estate agent, a next door neighbor, a serial apartment viewer, potential buyers, the detectives and let’s not forget the rabbit.  True to Backman’s style, his characters are quirky, ever charming and while they might not seem like it at first, lovable.  Just to be clear, the characters, not the story, are the star of the book.  


Told in the present with the detectives investigating the bank robbery/hostage situation, with flashbacks to these events and other defining moments in the cast of characters’ lives, the story slowly unfolds to reveal everyone’s secrets. 


More so than anything else, it is a story that highlights a group’s differences to eventually show their similarities. You must give the story a little time to build as it seems a little chaotic at the onset, but the wait is worth it.  By the end you will laugh and cry and maybe have rolled your eyes a time or two.


I listened to the audiobook and it was narrated by Marin Ireland.  She does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life and capturing all of their depth. 


This is my favorite read of 2020. I can’t recommend it enough and would be surprised if it doesn’t make many best of lists for 2020.




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