I’ll admit I have only ever read one Backman book–Beartown–but I’ve heard good things about the other ones too, and I enjoyed Beartown well enough. So I selected Anxious People, his new book, as one of my September book of the month picks.
Reading it was…an experience. It’s definitely kind of…all over the place at times. It all comes together at the end, of course, but you definitely need to pay a little more attention to this one.
This is a novel about a bank robbery gone right, a man on a bridge, a nice lesbian couple expecting a child, a hostage situation, and it’s also not about all those things at times. It’s hard to explain, but trust me here. The story goes back and forth from the police station post-hostage situation to the events leading up to the bank robbery, to why the hostages are at the apartment viewing, to why they are the way they are.
We meet a cast of characters that made me frustated and happy in equal parts. The bank robber turned hostage taker–obviously–a father son police duo, a stressed high-strung banker, a nice lesbian couple who operate in very different ways, an older couple who renovate apartments, an older lady experiencing loneliness, a real estate agent who makes terrible jokes, a man with a rabbit’s head and more. The strength of this book is definitely in the characters and they way they are woven into the prose and into the plot.
I ended up really enjoying this book–I love character driven, interwoven story stuff, but I did find myself super-concentrating in this book, so keep that in mind. It’s not a super heavy read–it does deal with topics of suicide but nothing too in depth–but it does require some reader effort.
Overall, I enjoyed this–4 stars from me and I’ll recommend it to my grandmother.