About the Book:
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.
This being my first novel by the celebrated Fredrik Backman, I was surprised and intrigued by the premise of this book. A lone would-be bank robber appears to have taken an apartment full of people hostages. But the reality of the situation is actually very different.
The seemingly diverse group of people, and the two police officers who interview them, seem completely unconnected. Backman has a quirky, darkly humorous style of writing that is actually funny in parts and quite emotionally deep in others. Always though, he examines the human condition and what it means to be kind and ethical in a rapidly-changing world.
Each page is infused with wit and humanity, even when Backman is making sarcastic observations or revealing the sometimes-tragic back stories of each of the many characters in this book. An unlikely bank robber, a married lesbian couple, an elderly woman, an inept realtor, a successful banking executive – there is more but in the end, everyone is interconnected and the author shows how every action, no matter how insignificant, can have a reaction.
Each chapter is brief and lends to the rapid pacing of the story. Backman is a sharp observer of the human condition and his wit and humanity shine through in this very interesting tale. While I didn’t always connect with each of the characters, I was fascinated by the story and by the author’s brilliant way of conveying ideas in a simple, straightforward way.
Definitely pick this one up for the unusual writing style and the clever twists! I am so looking forward to experiencing Backman’s other books.
(Thank you to the publisher for providing an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.)
Enter below for a chance to win a hardback copy of Anxious People!