Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller
A People Book of the Week, Book of the Month Club selection, and Best of Fall in Good Housekeeping, PopSugar, The Washington Post, New York Post, Shondaland, CNN, and more!
“[A] quirky, big-hearted novel…Wry, wise, and often laugh-out-loud funny, it’s a wholly original story that delivers pure pleasure.” —People
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove comes a charming, poignant 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.
Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.
Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.
Rich with Fredrik Backman’s “pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness), Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope—the things that save us, even in the most anxious times.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Best-selling Swedish author Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove) delivers a delightful and funny crime caper. When a father-and-son team of police officers is called in to deescalate a bank heist turned hostage crisis, they’re aided by some of the quirkiest, least helpful eyewitnesses of all time. Backman’s story throws together a group of strangers who get to know each other really well under very odd circumstances. We were taken with every fascinating oddball in this bunch, from the weirdly detached bank manager to the bickering newlyweds—not to mention the small-town cops who have to google “how to handle a hostage situation.” As the chapters jump around in time, they reveal clues about the crime as well as enticing insights into each character’s offbeat personality. As funny and wise as a Nora Ephron or Nick Hornby novel, Anxious People is a great reminder of the hope we can give each other, even in the strangest times.
A diverse assortment of Swedes gets caught in an unlikely hostage situation in Backman's witty, lighthearted romp (after Us Against You). On the day before New Year's Eve, in a "not particularly large or noteworthy town," a desperate parent attempts to rob a bank in order to provide for two young children. After the police arrive, the amateur stickup artist flees and stumbles into an apartment's open house. The attendees, including a heavily pregnant, first-time home-buying lesbian couple; an apartment-flipping older couple; and Zara, an executive at another bank, become hostages. Meanwhile, father and son police officers Jim and Jack scramble into action. The appearance of a man wearing nothing but underwear and a bunny mask, hired by the flippers to sabotage the open house, adds to the drama. Backman layers the hostage scene with threads of backstory on Zara's regret for denying a loan to a man ten years earlier, along with developments in Jack and Jim's investigation. While the prose is chockablock with odd metaphors ("Our hearts are bars of soap that we keep losing hold of") and a plot twist leans on societal assumptions, Backman charms with his empathetic description of the robber, who gradually earns sympathy from the hostages. This amusing send-up of contemporary Swedish society is worth a look.
Excellent story telling. Written in a quick-witted manner. I couldn’t put the book down, and the way it’s written helps you keep a quick reading pace. The way the author ties so many stories together is marvelous.
Absolutely brilliant. Powerful. Thank you for this.
Everything comes full circle.
A story about people living the best they can. A story about how we all affect each other.