Review: Anxious People

Hi and welcome to the reading world!

Today, I’m going to be sharing a review of the book Anxious People by Fredrik Backman!

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, Translated by Neil Smith
Adult Contemporary/Literary Fiction
Published September 8, 2020
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Anxious People follows a failed bank robber, a group of people touring an apartment, and the accidental hostage situation that unfolds. It touches on the lives of every character in a way that brings depth to each individual, and juxtaposes heavy themes with moments of levity.

This was my second Backman novel, my first being A Man Called Ove. I’m definitely due for a reread of that one since it’s been years, but this one wasn’t quite as impactful to me as Ove’s story was. That being said, this is still a book that made me pause and think in turn with moments of genuine laughter and surprise.

Backman’s character work is definitely strong. While I think the bank robber initially lacked some character development in order to further a plot element, I think by the end there still was that level of depth that is so prevalent in this story. The interactions between the characters is where this development really shines- it’s oftentimes less about what the characters directly say and more about how they are with each other that provides such nuance.

The plot itself and story have some definitely zany moments. While there’s definitely more suspension of disbelief required for parts of this story than other contemporaries I’ve read, the story explores connection and human vulnerability. There were some plot twists here and there that I wasn’t always a fan of due to their abruptness in a story that otherwise unfolds at a slower but steadier pace. However, by the end, I was definitely invested in the story and seeing what happened next to the characters.

Overall, while the story itself did take me a little bit to get into, it is still a wonderful story. Anxious People combines what should be a simple day with depth of character exploration and themes of connection, imperfection, and love. This is one I definitely plan to pick back up and revisit again in the future, as there are some quirky characters I remember fondly.

If you’re interested in reading Backman, this probably wouldn’t be my first recommendation to pick up, but I think for fans of his writing it’s definitely a great and engaging addition.

Have you read anything by Fredrik Backman?

Thank you for stopping by!

-Rae

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