Wednesday, September 16, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Anxious People: A novel by Fredrik Backman

 I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

Way back in time, I read a series of books about middle-aged men who suffer a loss of some kind and then meet someone or someones new and have a sort-of rebirth. In the midst of this spate, I read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and enjoyed it. So I requested Backman’s latest,  Anxious People: A novel, from Netgalley and was fortunate to have the request approved.

This is a feel-good book with quirky characters who are thrown together on the fateful day when a desperate person attempts a bank robbery, fails, and flees the scene only to stumble upon an apartment viewing, inadvertently turning the crime into a hostage crisis.

The crime(s) are handled by two small-town policemen, who happen to be father and son. The hostages include a retired couple who have taken to flipping apartments as projects, a young couple about to become parents, an elderly woman ostensibly looking for a place for her daughter while waiting for her husband to park the car, an obnoxious, hard-nosed banker whose hobby is to go to open houses to see how the other half lives, an amateur actor, and the real estate agent. We get to know these people in part through the interviews with the police and in part by their interactions with one another. They are kind-hearted odd ducks, all carrying baggage of one kind or another.

The plot is an unraveling of the failed robbery/hostage crisis as the police try to determine, after the fact, what happened to the perpetrator, who somehow vanished from the scene. There are surprises galore, snippets of wisdom, and a good dose of humor throughout.

Reading this novel was a delightful way to spend a few hours.

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