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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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.

Mar 25, 2021

I loved reading “anxious people!” The author skillfully created 10 believable characters, building layers of complexity to each character, as the book progressed. I finish this book several days ago and still find my mind engaged with it; this is completely unlike me. I read a book to escape into a story and once finished, normally, I don’t give it another thought. Not so with this book. It kept me turning the pages. This is more than a who-did-it kind of book. If you enjoy this book as much as I did, you will be in for a delightful treat.

Mar 22, 2021

This book is an absolute treasure. I don’t think I can quite describe why as eloquently as some previous comments. But when I finished the book, I was sad it was over and yet so thankful I had read it! I can see how Backman’s writing may not be everyone’s cup of tea: for a plot about a bank robbery/hostage situation, it was not edge-of-your-seat entertainment. It was so much more though. I loved getting to know each character. Backman is gifted in creating imperfect, broken characters that you can’t help but root for. The storyline and every person’s part is woven together so beautifully. I laughed, I cried, and I would read it all over again.

Mar 17, 2021

I love how he explains how children and young people view the world.

Mar 12, 2021

Backman has his own unique style. He reveals, opines, and surprises at every turn. Comedy? No, too much tragedy going on here to be fully comic. Ok, so it's a tragedy? No, there's no tragedy that makes you laugh out loud to this extent.
Ok, so Backman is a keen observer to the human experience. He tends to interject himself and his beliefs into the story, and this story is a revelation of how we grieve, how we deal with cruelty and betrayal, and how we never stop loving.
You might know the plot, but you don't really know the story until you read Anxious People. Do yourself a favor: choose a gloomy day, make a cup of tea, settle in and read another exploration of the human condition, courtesy of Fredrick Backman.

JCLJenV Mar 12, 2021

When I first started this book I thought it should have been named, ‘Annoying People’. But about halfway through - the story and the characters found more depth and Fredrick Backman worked his magic and I fell in love with the story.

Mar 01, 2021

4 -4 1/2 stars. I think I expected a different kind of book as I found it a bit hard to get into the book at the beginning. But then I got it and found the book to be an interesting read. A bank robber who tried to rob a cashless bank is on the run from police and ducks into an apartment building and into an open door that leads to an open house with a number of people in there. Soon there is a hostage incident. But the bank robber is not the hostage taker per se and the people in the room are not that frightened. Two police officers, a father and son, are interested and interesting parties. The book is full of interesting people trying their best to overcome the things that life throws at them. At times funny and at times so poignant and spot on that tears came to my eyes, this book was quite a surprise.

Feb 17, 2021

The author takes a different route to finding our characters spirit and personality. He looks at the 8 characters from so many angles that their true nature is not revealed until the end. It is a tale the offers delight and sadness, pokes fun at society and each character's preconceived notions. The author pokes fun at the reader and the author, too, teasing us with one misconception of reality after another.

Being a Backman tale, the characters all find a degree of satisfaction with their final lot. These 8(?) charactors may not be unforgettable, but he never forgets his characters. It's a cautionary fairy tale, told with care. I admire everything I've read by him; this may be his best work to date.

Feb 13, 2021

Well-written populist brainfiller.

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