The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Beartown is the kind of chatty, enveloping novel that swallows you whole. Swedish writer Fredrik Backman—author of the 2012 breakout hit A Man Called Ove—is back with the tale of a hockey-obsessed small town simmering with secrets. Backman wields the same charm evident in his previous books, but this time around he's married his signature amiability to a creeping, very Scandinavian kind of darkness. The combustible result elevates the work of this exceptional storyteller to a whole new level.
Backman's latest novel requires actor Ireland to portray small-town machismo with sensitivity, eschewing caricature and low-hanging fruit to reveal the vulnerable underside of the teenage players of Beartown's youth hockey league (and their parents, who live vicariously through them). For the most part, she succeeds, and does so with memorable rigor. Her raspy alto switches believably among a wide range of characters female and male, young and adult as she gives voice to the emotions they face, from hidden loneliness to the anger of unforgivable betrayal. Ireland has had recurring roles on a number of noteworthy TV shows, including Homeland, Girls, and The Killing; while she hasn't had a similar range of experience with audio narration, this doesn't feel like a rookie outing. Her narration is at its best during particularly dramatic moments of the story, such as the crime that occurs amid a raucous victory party. Her passion during these scenes is such that the fictional residents of Beartown might say she "has the bear in her" their highest compliment for a clutch player who gives everything to a performance, whether in hockey or in life. With luck we will see her as an audiobook narrator more often in the future. An Atria hardcover.
Backman creates characters and worlds, and invites readers to share in these more real than imaginary creations.
Such an excellent book.....did not want it to end. So poignant......made me cry in some places. Well deserved five stars out of ten!!!
The full essence of the hockey life in a small town both its best and worst aspects are presented in this incredible tale . Even if you are not a hockey fan this book is so powerfully written with so much astute wisdom you can't help but be drawn in by its engaging story and richly crafted characters. Beartown hockey could represent any hockey town or high school hockey team anywhere in the northern climate. Backman creates a masterpiece by getting into and under all the complicated emotions attached to the male dominated hockey world and how it impacts all people living in the same space. Nothing is simple or straightforward .This book should be required reading in high schools where it can be used to create a healthy dialogue around the benefits and dangers of team sports.