Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

Review: Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

September 8, 2021Hels

“That’s the power of literature, you know, it can act like little love letters between two people who can only explain their feelings by pointing at other people’s.”

Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

Anxious People (Fredrick Backman)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: A poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

This was the fourth Fredrik Backman novel I’ve read, and I absolutely loved it. It’s written in third person, but written in such a way that despite there being so many characters, you find yourself connecting and relating to them in so many wonderful and unexpected and sometimes heartbreaking ways.

“We don’t have a plan, we just do our best to get through the day, because there’ll be another one coming along tomorrow.”

Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

Whenever I had to put the book down, I found myself thinking about the characters. On the surface, and from first impression, each character appears ‘normal’, but as the story continues and you begin to get to know each person, you learn of their anxieties, their vulnerabilities, their humour, the things that make each of them human. I loved uncovering new layers to the characters – a couple of them who I’d felt indifferent towards when I first met them became my favourite as the story went on. It left me questioning what I would do in certain situations, and stuck with me after I turned the final page. I loved the ending, I loved how everything was wrapped up, while also being left open for the reader to imagine the rest of the lives of those in the story. 

The thing I’ve found with Backman’s novels is that it’s not so much the plot that keeps me coming back, it’s the complex exploration of humans, and the way the characters are intertwined and connected in ways they may not even realise. When I read Beartown, I made notes of SO many quotes from the book that stuck with me and I did exactly the same with Anxious People – there were so many comments that resonated with me.

“Because that was a parent’s job: to provide shoulders. Shoulders for your children to sit on when they’re little so they can see the world, then stand on when they get older so they can reach the clouds, and sometimes lean against whenever they stumble and feel unsure.”

Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

I think Backman’s writing can take a bit of time to get used to, but oh my goodness it is worth it. His humour is dry and distinctive, his observations will have you nodding along, and I think his stories are the kind that will seep into your mind and stick with you. 

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