This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

For years, I have been aware of Fredrik Backman’s work. As a bookseller, I frequently saw A Man Called Ove on featured displays. However, for whatever reason, I never ended up reading any of Backman’s work until now.

I am so glad I did.

Anxious People is an interesting mix of genres, from comedy, to drama, to crime story. As someone who is still relatively unfamiliar with Backman’s style, I wasn’t sure what to make of the idea, but I fell in love with the very first line: This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. How could I not?

What follows is a hilarious and heart-wrenching story of a group of people who find themselves in a position they never thought they would ever find themselves, including the bank robber. I am not lying to you when I say I have not laughed out loud while reading a book as much as I did with this one. There are moments where you’re just scratching your head at the hilarity of it all such as wondering what a man wearing the head of a rabbit costume has anything to do with the story. Backman knows what he is doing with these moments, though. He balances out the humor with moments of absolute heartbreak, making you feel for even the most unlikeable characters.

The bank robbery and the hostage situation don’t take place for some time, but everything that comes before it (mostly the backgrounds of the two policemen and some post-hostage crisis interviews) isn’t wasted.

I highly recommend Anxious People for anyone who is looking for an engaging read full of vibrant characters, hilarious moments, and introspection of humanity. Anxious People is by far one of my favorite reads of the year and I cannot wait to read more from Fredrik Backman.

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