Anxious People was one of my favourite books to read in 2020. A bank robber who tried robbing a cashless bank runs off and takes a group of random people hostage. Throughout the novel, it introduces further the reader to the lives of these eight people.
The characterization is glorious. I love the cast, their introductions, and how they act through this strange hostage situation. Each of them is so unique, bringing a fresh perspective to the chain of events that unfold. I don’t want to speak too much about them because I don’t want to spoil their amazing personalities. However, I will say that I understood the character’s decisions. In most books, the major characters decide in a way that I wouldn’t because they are extroverted or easily adaptable to stressful situations. Or they learn to be. I have awful anxiety and these characters made decisions that, yes, were strange to most people, but they all made sense to me. I haven’t felt so connected to a group of characters than I did reading about these hostages.
I love that nothing is told in chronological order. Instead, it’s told in the right order so that the reader can understand all the events by the end of the novel. This is a complicated story format to write, but Fredrik Backman brings it to life in a way that is so easy to follow. It also meant that every twist in this book was phenomenal. I wouldn’t have ever guessed what was going to happen and who these people were going to turn out to be, even with the chapters jumping between present and past and farther past.
The biggest theme in this book is the question: “what is this book about? What is the truth?”. As with many stories, the answers to these questions morph and change as the story goes on. But in Anxious People, Backman recognizes it within the story. In each moment, the story is about something else, something new. So, after you learn about all the different truths, you can look back and see that this is a story about everything all at the same time.
I’m going to leave this review short, so I spoil nothing. I highly recommend that you pick up this book and give it a read, no matter what genre you normally read. Because this is a book about people, I believe anyone could feel some kinship with these strange, anxious people.
Leave a Reply