Anxious People

Anxious People

A Novel

Book - 2020
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Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

A People Book of the Week, Book of the Month Club selection, and Best of Fall in Good Housekeeping , PopSugar , The Washington Post , N ew York Post , Shondaland, CNN, and more!

" [A] quirky, big-hearted novel...Wry, wise, and often laugh-out-loud funny, it's a wholly original story that delivers pure pleasure." -- People

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove comes a charming, poignant novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

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 their own marriage. There's a wealthy bank director who has been too busy 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 motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Rich with Fredrik Backman's "pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature" ( Shelf Awareness ), 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 times.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2020.
Edition: First Atria Books hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781501160837
Branch Call Number: BACKMAN
Characteristics: 341 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Smith, Neil (Neil Andrew), - Translator


From Library Staff

A writer of extraordinary insight, humor and intelligence who manages to weave, seamlessly, both the depth of human idiocy and the height of human compassion into the same story. -Randi, Sub Squad

From the critics

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May 08, 2021

This book is actually a poignant tale dealing with a serious subject - suicide. However, Backman has couched it in comedy and it comes out as a satire. A Bank Robber in a failed robbery attempt stumbles into an apartment open house where there are seven potential purchasers - a motley crew. Nobody takes the hostage taker seriously and we read about Jim and Jack a father son duo of cops trying to solve the mystery of how the robber vanished mysteriously. A well-written book which starts slowly but takes on a life of its own. It is not a page turner but t grows on you and you can't put it down till you have finished.

May 05, 2021

Funny and sad. A great translation. I'm hooked.

May 05, 2021

Recommended by Ellen May ‘21

May 02, 2021

Oh boy some of you fans may not like this review but I hope to save at least one person a couple of hours. Very annoying writing style - felt stupid reading it. Just could not feel connected to this scattered and ridiculous storyline. I saw all of the glowing reviews and was excited to experience a new and highly recommended author. Not so - extremely disappointed. I never give up on a book but this one was just so silly and child like that after 100 pages in I was seriously considering returning it without finishing. Instead I “skimmed” ahead and picked up bits and pieces along the way (again not something I have ever done). It was enough to see that the same nonsense continued throughout. The ending, while it ties the crazy story together, made me feel even more desperate to dump this book. Depressing. I went back through the older reviews of others and see now, too late, that this would not be recommended as an introduction to the works of this author. I think if I need to “build up” a tolerance to the writer’s style it is a pass for me. Once burned, twice shy. On a positive note, gotta love our freedom of choice and library access to such wide and varying literature options.

Apr 26, 2021


Apr 18, 2021

I’m an unabashed fan of author Fredrik Backman and have read nearly all his books. But I must admit I wasn’t immediately captivated by ANXIOUS PEOPLE. It wasn’t until I was a third of the way into it that its charm took hold of me, and I was hooked. What begins as a seeming hodgepodge of complicated characters, isolated events, and a shifting timeline, all comes together in a very satisfying way at the end. The story is a thought-provoking mix of the serious and the absurd, the tragic and the comical, told as only Fredrik Backman can. Ultimately, ANXIOUS PEOPLE is about human connection and the impacts people can have on each other. I highly recommend it.
PLEASE NOTE: If you aren’t familiar with Backman and his writing style, I join others in suggesting you NOT start with this book, but first try one of his other works, like A MAN CALLED OVE.

Apr 11, 2021

Best book ever! Absolutely loved this book from the beginning till the end. In Backman’s Anxious People, tells the story how people in society are more connected than they think. This book was extremely hilarious. After 2020, this was the kind of read we all need.

Apr 11, 2021

If you have never read Backman, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this offering. Start with .....Ove or My Grandmother......This is a complex tale of Ying and Yang of the human condition complete with a cast of quirky characters that one would expect from his style of writing. He’s been called the John Irving of Sweden. Excellent comparison although Backman can certainly stand on his own laurels.

Mar 28, 2021

There's a lot going on in this book. Overall, it's an exciting, surprising read with some good nuggets of wisdom.

Mar 26, 2021

This is a great read but also one of the hardest of all his books. His stories never follow a straight plot line and with all the characters, the time line changes and the character back stories, while you're entertained, you might also be getting a headache. Start with one of his early books before you dive into this one.

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Apr 18, 2021

“They say that a person’s personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn’t true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.” - p. 324

Apr 18, 2021

“Nothing is easier for people who never do anything themselves than to criticize someone who actually makes an effort.” - p. 209

Apr 18, 2021

“Expensive restaurants have bigger gaps between the tables. First class on airplanes has no middle seats. Exclusive hotels have separate entrances for guests staying in suites. The most expensive thing you can buy in the most densely populated places on the planet is distance.” - p. 94

Apr 18, 2021

“The truth of course is that if people really were as happy as they look on the Internet, they wouldn’t spend so much damn time on the Internet, because no one who’s having a really good day spends half of it taking pictures of themselves. Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.” - p. 57

Apr 18, 2021

“Because that was a parent’s job: to provide shoulders. Shoulders for your children to sit on when they’re little so they can see the world, then stand on when they get older so they can reach the clouds, and sometimes lean against whenever they stumble and feel unsure.” - p.22

Apr 18, 2021

“We don't have a plan, we just do our best to get through the day, because there'll be another one coming along tomorrow.” - p. 2


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