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Book DetailsISBN: 9780718186623
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Book Review: Anxious People: The No. 1 New York Times bestseller from the author of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - Reviewed by CloggieA (03 Oct 2020)
“…you should always be nice to other people, even idiots, because you never know how heavy their burden is.”
Anxious People is the sixth novel by Swedish author, Fredrik Backman. It is translated by Neil Smith and consists of (approx): 11% Comedy of Errors 11% Locked-room mystery 33% Social Commentary 11% Love Story 11% Slapstick/Keystone Cops 22% Philosophy 1% Farce And 100% Backman A small Swedish town. The young cop is frustrated. The hostages have been released unharmed, but the hostage-taker is missing, and the cop is certain that some, if not all, of the hostages are telling less than the whole truth. The big bosses from Stockholm will soon be there to take over.
The older cop worries for the young man, who obviously wants to solve the whole thing before they arrive. But the puzzle is defeating him. Hidden by a ski-mask and wielding a pistol, the robber made an unsuccessful attempt to rob the bank, then fled into an apartment open for viewing, taking the potential buyers hostage.
After a thorough search of the apartment, however, there was no sign of the failed robber. Interrogation of each of the hostages yields little useful information. Of course, the reader, privy to the bank robber’s thoughts, has it figured out pretty quickly, right? Sure.
In characteristic Fredrik Backman fashion, he gives the reader a cast of people, all with their own individual anxieties, but all easy to identify with, throws them together and gradually reveals how they got that way. If all are initially strangers, there are definitely less than six degrees of separation between some of them.
There’s a gun, a fair bit of blood, a large rabbit, a bowl of limes, several pizzas, and someone ends up with a lump on their forehead, but no animals are harmed in the making of this tale. Patience with the initial silliness is amply rewarded with an intriguing mystery, astute observations and sage comments, and lots of laugh-out-loud moments: “The bank robber stamped the floor in frustration. ‘No one’s listening to me! You’re the worst hostages ever!’” Wise, insightful and blackly funny.
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