First Impression Friday: “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman

A few years ago I picked up My Grandmother Told Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman, and I enjoyed it so much that I tried A Man Called Ove next, but I read the first chapter and had to put the book down, because there was absolutely nothing in the world that could get me to read more about that unpleasant man, even if he was supposed to change or get better as the book went on.

And then I came across Anxious People a few weeks ago and decided to borrow it from the library and see how I liked it. And I guess I like it enough to write a FIF post on it, so here’s hoping I don’t abandon this one halfway through like I have with a few other FIF posts.

From GoodReads:

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 up their own marriage. There’s a wealthy banker who has been too busy making money 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, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. 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 a motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Humorous, compassionate, and wise, Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope—the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times.

Anxious People

I don’t know how to describe the narrative style of this book, because it’s different. It sort of reminds me of A Series of Unfortunate Events in that the author is talking to his readers like he knows them and that they need a few things explained to them, but it sounds like the unhinged ramblings of a madman. So that’s nice.

I will say the third chapter – which deals with a policeman trying to get information about the crime out of the real estate agent who was showing the apartment – was enough to make me want to tear my hair out. The real estate agent has that “perky” type of personality that can’t be put down for an instant and whose entire life revolves around their job, to the point that she gushes about open floor plans and the amenities of the apartment while the cop is just trying to do his job and get a description of the suspect, who has seemingly vanished into mid-air.

I did the thing again where I read the synopsis when I reserved the book, but started reading the book before reading the synopsis again, so I forgot what the book was about until I was writing this post (thank you, GoodReads). But I will go ahead and say that I’ve got no idea where the bank robber has gone off to, because the hostage situation ends with the bank robber disappearing, which is why the cop was asking about the apartment in the first place. I think this is going to be an interesting ride, and I hope it’s interesting in the way that I like and not in the way that makes me want to put a book down and never pick it back up again.

And as always, keep reading.

One thought on “First Impression Friday: “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman

  1. Yes I loved the narrator of this one!!
    Eheh it was an interresting ride- all that I kept thinking while reading was how good this would be as a tv show or something!!

    Really hoping you’d enjoy it too xx

    Liked by 1 person

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