Anxious People

Anxious People

Book - 2020
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This is a story about a hostage drama. But more than that, it's a story about idiots. That's why, from the very outset, I need to say that it is always very easy to declare people idiots, but only if you forget that it is also almost always idiotically difficult to be human. Anxious People is an unreasonably riotous comedy about a hostage drama during an open house that all begins when a failed bank robber locks himself in with six strangers who have come to view the apartment. In captivity we meet Roger and Anna-Lena, a recently retired couple who are on a manic hunt for fixer-uppers because they don't know how to fix their own marriage. They have the distinction of shopping at every Ikea in Sweden-and those are some of the most romantic moments they ever shared. Then there is Zara, a wealthy director of a bank who has never cared for poor people or their problems (and isn't shy about saying so). But when tragedy strikes in her life, she becomes addicted to visiting real-estate open houses to see how the middle-classes live - and possibly to find a suitable place to commit suicide. Julia and Danijela are a young lesbian couple with a newborn baby who can't agree on anything. Their opposite and idiosyncratic home preferences are making them increasingly anxious about their chances of spending a lifetime together. And Estelle, an eighty year-old woman who has lived long enough to be unimpressed by some bank robber waving a gun in her face. Despite the story she tells them all, Estelle hasn't really come to the apartment to view it for her daughter, and her husband really isn't outside parking the car. As police surround the premises and television channels are broadcasting live, the pressure of an increasingly tense situation mounts, causing each person to reveal more and more about themselves to each other. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people. In the end, the hostages are released, but when the police storm the apartment to capture the robber, it is ... empty. In a series of interviews afterwards, the witnesses all tell their version of what happened that day, whereupon it becomes clear to the police that one person is lying, and that none of the others are telling the whole truth. This is a story about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and a group of very anxious people who experience the same events in wildly different ways.
Publisher: Toronto : Simon & Schuster Canada, ♭2020.
ISBN: 9781982121600
Characteristics: 341 pages ;,23 cm.
Additional Contributors: Smith, Neil (Neil Andrew), - Translator


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ArapahoePaige Jan 15, 2021

It’s about a bank robber. A bridge. A rabbit? But mostly it’s a bare-knuckled examination of people, relationships and expectations wrapped in witty, wry observations that make you laugh out loud. Each character has a story, the lead role, and their own truth. But who’s the bank robber?

Jan 15, 2021

I enjoy Backman's writing which sometimes makes me laugh out loud and few pages later I will be reading with tears in my eyes.

JCLBetM Jan 11, 2021

I already knew from reading "A Man Called Ove" that Backman has a gift of creating nuanced and realistic characters whose flaws you appreciate as much as their virtues. But he outdid himself with this one. I'd be laughing one moment, and tearing up the next over the various issues this mad cast of characters were dealing with. And somehow the puzzle of time he creates by shifting back and forth within the hostage episode itself, as well as events years earlier, enriches the story and helps you suspend judgment as you watch the various pieces laid into place. I didn't love it immediately, but I certainly did by the end.

Jan 04, 2021

Just outstanding. Funny and sad and poignant and real. I loved this book and these flawed characters.

WPL_Jaclyn Dec 12, 2020

We all need this book in 2020. Such a great reminder of empathy. No one writes simple yet powerful characters like Backman. I loved this quirky novel of a robbery gone very awry. Each and everyone involved has a story to tell and I loved how Backman brought each character to life (and with a few surprises too!). I also listened to this one; no one narrators like Marin Ireland.

Nov 25, 2020

What an unimaginable book. A story which leads you through many stories of love, tragedy, relationships, and life, all intertwined together via the main story line, which in reality is not the main story line after all.

All the characters are either tied together from the beginning or become tied into the story as a result of the story. Here is where the story is so powerful. For it is about each of the characters, not the events. It is about what either happened to them in the past, or what is unfolding now, or both. It is the events and how those events impact them now and how they come to play out in the end.

It is not a convoluted story, nor is it complex. Seriously simplistic but not written in the usual style one is accustomed to reading. For the main story plot (which is not the main story plot after all), is only the premise by which the characters come together and end up interacting with one another. The main plot is the actually the subplot, allowing the author to reveal the depth and fullness of each of the characters.

A rich and touching story about life, giving life meaning and purpose. So rich and captivating, you become engrossed, engaged, and empathetic to each of the characters. There is no one to hate, there is no bad guy, just a group of people who are being people and who are muddling through life. In it all, there is the realization that life is full of mistakes, regrets, and sorrows, but that is what life is all about and we all each experience it in a different way and it impacts us each differently.

Forgiveness; forgiveness of ourselves; forgiveness of others. This is what life is an what we experience.

Nov 20, 2020

A bank robber, two officers, an open house filled with "idiots" & unexpected new beginnings stemming from a very bad day. A novel of struggles, humanity and redemption.

Nov 17, 2020

Disappointing book. Found the characters annoying and the attempts at humor cringeworthy. There were some moments of brilliance during monologues but even these didn't seem to lend to the story. Perhaps it gets better later in the book, but I couldn't wait any longer. I stopped at Chapter 2.

Nov 14, 2020

Just read it. Everyone is connected and everyone has a philosophy worth following. And you will laugh. The bank robber, the policemen, the real estate agent. People from Stockholm and old romances. Secret rooms, sarcastic bank women. And a man with no pants, socks and a rabbit head

Oct 30, 2020

This book was disappointing. I would give it an OK.

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