Anxious People is the best book I’ve read in a long time. It managed both to make me laugh out loud and start to cry. Taking place on the eve of New Year’s Eve in a small town in Sweden, it brings together a fairly large cast without losing site of any of them, and making their voices and stories distinct.
A burglar attempts to rob a cashless bank for a pittance, then runs away only to stumble into the open house of an apartment for sale, thus accidentally taking the apartment viewers hostage. The tail weaves back and forth as the different people get to know each other and as the police question them individually after they are released. Despite figuring out the ending well in advance, I was happy to continue to see how it got there and how the individuals would respond. Certain jokes that ran throughout the book never got old, for instance, the use of ‘Stockholmer’ as an insult, description and euphemism. I wonder if it is used in small town Sweden that way or was that an author invention. If invention, I hope Swedes will start using it in the manner that the characters do.
This was another book that I listened to as audio and the narrator (Marin Ireland) was fantastic. Each character had a distinct voice, such as the older couple sounding like they were from the American mid-west and the bank teller sounding like a Gen Z Tik Tokker.
Overall, I thought the book was a plea for us all to be kinder to one another.