“Anxious People” Review


Swedish author Fredrik Backman’s #1 New York Times Bestseller “Anxious People” is a fascinating and insightful tale that will be sure to enthrall readers until the very last page.
Told with funny and perceptive narration, “Anxious People” is about a parent who finds themself in a very sticky situation when their attempt to rob a bank goes horribly wrong. The robber is forced to hide in an apartment where they discover they are not alone.
Eight seemingly random viewers at an apartment open house are thrown into a life-or-death situation, each with their own histories and problems when the would-be bank robber shows up with a gun.
The eight include Zara, a rich bank director who seems to attend apartment open houses simply to see how ordinary people live; Roger and Anne-Marie, an older married couple who have been endlessly buying, renovating and selling apartments to hide the fact that they can’t fix their marriage; Ro and Julia, a young couple who are expecting their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything; And Estelle, an eighty-year-old woman who tells everyone an obscure version of reality to conceal her grief and the truth about how she is connected to the apartment.
Outside, a father-son police duo with little experience in intense situations are dispatched to save the hostages. Jack, a 20-something-year-old man with aspirations to save the day and solve the case before police from Stockholm arrive , has trouble working with his father Jim’s more methodical and laidback work style. Both still grieving from the loss of Jim’s wife and Jack’s mother must work together to save the hostages and close the case as the media watches from outside.
The novel takes a turn when the hostages are allowed to leave the building. When police rush into the apartment, the bank robber is nowhere to be found. Jim and Jack determine that at least one of the hostages has helped the bank robber escape. They must piece together the truth of what happened inside the building to tell the full story and reveal what really took place behind the closed apartment door. Interviews of the hostages, background stories, and narration of the present together compose this epic saga.
This book is also packed with insight from the narrator on the complexities of human nature. As Bachman says: “This is a story about a bank robbery, an apartment viewing, and a hostage drama. But even more, it’s a story about idiots.”
Filled with comedy and heartbreak, this page-turner will not only divulge who the bank robber is and what has happened, but also build the backgrounds of each character and color in a picture that is fully revealed at the end.
Backman brings together every clue in this intimate, small-town novel combining elements of mystery with witty narration to create this riveting tale.