Anxious People

Fredrik Backman
Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can't fix up their own marriage. There's a wealthy banker who has been too busy making money to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can't seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment's only bathroom, and you've got the worst group of hostages in the world. Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in a motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next. Humorous, compassionate, and wise, Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope—the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times.


Reviewed: 2021-07-07

Anxious People is about a group of strangers, a bunch of "idiots", at an apartment viewing, who get caught up in a bank robbery gone wrong. I can't really say much else because it'll ruin the book, but just trust me, you'll love it. There's a quote in the book though, "Everyone inside the apartment had their own complexes, their own demons and anxieties..."

As usual, I fell in love with a Fredrik Backman book. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone who knows me, since I talk so highly of him. There's no difference for this novel.

Backman has this crazy talent where he connects characters in his stories in some way form or another to each other. Everyone gets an invisible string, that in the end, creates this giant circle. This novel is no different. You just feel so empathic of these characters. Backman is a genius when it comes to portraying people's emotions, their habits, and their individuality. He can take someone who may first come across as this grumpy, unlovable character, and he gives you layers upon layers to them, that in the end, your outlook to them has done a complete 180. It's one of the reasons I love his books time and time again.

I took so many photos of quotes I wanted to write down from this book; things that made me laugh, and smile, and ones that form that tight little ball form in the base of my throat. I can't really share too many of them in this review, as it will ruin a bit of the surprise of the book for a new reader. But Backman has a way with words and bringing up subject manner that you don't really ever talk about. He does it in a way that grabs at your heartstrings and makes you nod your head in understanding and shines a light in that dark corner where it doesn't get noticed much.

"...But I think we pass people in the street every day who feel the same as you and I, many of them just don't know what it is. Men and women going around for months having trouble breathing and seeing doctor after doctor because they think there's something wrong with their lungs. All because it's too damn difficult to admit that something else is... broken. That it's an ache in our soul, invisible lead weights in our blood, and indescribable pressure in our chest. Our brains are lying to us, telling us we're going to die. But there's nothing wrong with our lungs..."

I know this review doesn't give much away as to why this book is so good, but it is, I promise.

Reviewed: 2021-04-07

The humour was strained and tedious.  It has been described as 'heartwarming' but those elements are laid on thick and tend to be preachy. Goes on a bit for the last 50 pages - could have wrapped up a lot more quickly.

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