Monday, 17 August 2020

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

My love for Fredrik Backman is strong, and like many of us, I have been (im)patiently waiting for his new release, Anxious People.

In Backman's newest novel, a failed bank robber ends up taking part in a crime that never really happens and accidentally holds eight anxious strangers hostage.

Through this lens, and drawing on his own experience of once being shot in the leg at a real bank robbery, Backman tells a story about the assumptions we make towards others and the similarities we all share under the surface. This is a story of how we are all connected and of how we affect each other without even knowing it. In Anxious People, Backman honours and calls out how hard life is while reminding us that we are each doing our best, and he reaffirms that what we are doing is actually good enough. An important reminder for us all in 2020. The ending gripped my heart, and I shed a few tears a few different times while reading.

When I saw Fredrik Backman at an event last spring, he spoke about the strong storytelling tradition in Sweden, and he described how he particularly connects with storytelling about real humans and real emotions. Anxiety has been a part of his own life, and he is able to describe what we are all thinking and feeling these days with clarity. Anxious People is funny. It is dark. And I can guarantee you will feel seen. Even the title is a whole 2020 mood.

On a separate note, I continue to be impressed with Backman's translators. His novels always read so seamlessly, capturing well his humour and his poignant messaging. I've heard him say that he feels Swedish may be an easier language to translate because they have less words for things (as opposed to French, which has so many words!)

Backman is back with another masterpiece. Anxious People releases on September 8th, and you can preorder a copy from your favourite bookseller. You will not regret it!



PS - You can read my review here if you're also interested Fredrik Backman's non-fiction book, Things My Son Needs To Know About The World.

Disclaimer - Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending a complementary copy of Anxious People my way.

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