I had never heard of this author or book until my son gifted Anxious People to me for my birthday last month. I feel bad now that I didn’t read it straight away – I didn’t even read it before the book I got for Christmas – it is such a great novel. And coincidentally it’s coming out as a movie on one of the streaming services.
The story starts with a bank robbery that kind of accidentally turns into a hostage situation, landing a group of strangers at an apartment viewing in close quarters for several hours. There’s a young same-sex couple about to have their first baby; an older couple whose retirement hobby is ‘flipping’ apartments; a very well-to-do businesswoman who doesn’t seem to belong there, and an elderly woman who is enjoying everyone’s company. They all have their good sides and bad sides; they’ve all made mistakes; and they share these with each other whilst being held to ransom by their polite bank robber turned captor.
The character development is one of the strengths of this book; as each person’s quirks, foibles, secrets and redeeming features are revealed alongside the plot twists. Probably the best part for me though was the quirkiness of the writing (and I don’t know whether this was related to the fact that it’s been translated from Swedish) as it seemed that every second or third sentence had a wry observation or a joke in it. For this reason alone, I can see myself re-reading this book next year.
So, it seems my 2022 reading list just got a bit longer as I now have to add Fredrik Backman’s other books! And I will definitely watch the Anxious People movie (even though I always find the book better than the movie!)