Anxious People: A Novel (Paperback)
September 2020 Indie Next List
“This book made me feel all the feels! It was sad, it was funny, it was hopeful, it was everything. The character development is incredible at revealing what’s inside each of the characters, and the way their stories link and interconnect is genius. It’s a story about sadness and hope and human connections. I couldn’t put it down and barreled to the end, but now I am sad it’s over. Anxious People is truly the best thing I’ve read in a long time!”
— Lisa Driban, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE
At its simplest, we could just say this is a story about the human condition. Backman’s wry and deceptively simple storytelling provides us an exquisite and astute study of the little complexities that fills our lives with joy and pain. Through his rich story exploring second chances, missed opportunities, and unintended consequences, he captures the essence of what it means to be human and the complexities of navigating relationships with each other by exploring what we say and do not say to one another. The audio version is absolutely spectacular. The narrator brings each character to life with unique and spot-on personalities that I cannot imagine creating myself in my head. Her delivery of the dialogue and story is spot on and kept me laughing throughout.— Cori
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. 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.
Proving once again that Backman is “a master of writing delightful, insightful, soulful, character-driven narratives” (USA TODAY), Anxious People “captures the messy essence of being human….It’s clever and affecting, as likely to make you laugh out loud as it is to make you cry” (The Washington Post). This “endlessly entertaining mood-booster” (Real Simple) is proof that the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope can save us—even in the most anxious of times.
“Backman’s latest novel hits the sweet spot between profoundly insightful and preposterously funny….I hugged this book tightly with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes.” –USA Today
“The perfect balance of heartwarming and heart-wrenching, and Fredrik Backman has a way of simply yet elegantly describing relationships. We can all be idiots, but we’re still all human beings worthy of connection and love.” –NPR
“A brilliant and comforting read.” —Matt Haig, bestselling author of The Midnight Library
“An endlessly entertaining mood booster.” —Real Simple
"This book examines how a shared event can change the course of many lives at once. And if you like strongly drawn characters and a mix of humor and heartbreak, this one's for you.” –The Skimm
"[A] witty, lighthearted romp...Backman charms." —Publishers Weekly
"Wry, wise and often laugh-out-loud funny, it’s a wholly original story that delivers pure pleasure.” —People
“A deeply funny and warm examination of how individual experiences can bring a random group of people together. Backman reveals each character’s many imperfections with tremendous empathy, reminding us that people are always more than the sum of their flaws.” —BookPage
"[A] tight-knit, surprise-filled narrative... the brisk, absorbing action prompts meditation on marriage, parenting, responsibility, and global economic pressures. Comedy, drama, mystery, and social study, this novel is undefinable except for the sheer reading pleasure it delivers. Highly recommended."—Library Journal (starred review)
“Backman’s latest novel focuses on how a shared event can change the course of multiple people’s lives even in times of deep and ongoing anxiousness. A story with both comedy and heartbreak sure to please Backman fans.” —Kirkus Review
“Funny, compassionate and wise...an absolute joy.” —AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs. Bird