Monday, March 15, 2021

Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

Someone runs into a bank and attempts to rob it. They then take hostages in a nearby building. Sounds like all the makings of a blockbuster action novel, doesn't it? But Fredrik Backman's Anxious People is just the opposite -- you think you're getting one thing, but it turns out to be quite different.

You may know Backman as the author of a little book called A Man Called Ove. His books do not rely on plots so much as they do character studies -- Backman is a master of characterization. In Anxious People, a group of strangers are attending an open house for an apartment when they find themselves in the middle of a hostage situation. Only this isn't your normal crime scene. None of them is really who they appear to be, including the bank robber. Add to that two police officers who do things you would not expect them to, and you have a book that is nowhere near what I thought it would be.

I found a few parts of Anxious People bogged down with details, but that doesn't get in the way of what it is -- an unexpected tale of compassion, empathy, and forgiveness with characters you won't soon forget.