Anxious People Review


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, who previously penned A Man Called Ove, is the most important novel of 2020. Wrapping themes of parenthood, old age and regret, with their opposites of new life and love, Backman makes a present I graciously received for Christmas. Topped with a bow of page turning suspense, Backman makes it impossible to not recommend. And recommend I have: from my English teacher to my mother to my friends to this article, I can’t sing high enough praises.

But I’ll try! And try without spoiling it, no less. Any information I give is readily available for distribution by means of hard sleeve cover.  Anxious People is part comedy, part thriller; and a thriller cannot be a thriller if the thrills have been thwarted, so this article will be allergic to spoilers. However, its also an advice book. Backman takes several moments throughout the story to provide subconscious soliloquys to the audience. At first, I was apprehensive to these, but was soon enamored by this fourth wall breaking, thirteenth main character.

Yes, you heard. Twelve, in universe main characters, not counting the monologues addressed to the audience. Under a pretense of a hostage situation, Backman navigates between twelve different living, breathing people in a 3rd person limited perspective. This unique perspective provides the intimacy of first person without its numerous limitations. By the end of the novel, I give a Nucci-guarantee that you’ll care for all of the cast members. Even characters I have very little relatability with (a pregnant lesbian navigating her late twenties, par example) I connected with. The conclusion, without any spoilers, is deliciously satisfying, inviting a reread for the next rainy day.