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Beartown by Fredrik Backman Review

Title: Beartown

Author: Fredrik Backman

First published September 15, 2016

432 pages, Kindle Edition

Rating: 4.29


In Fredrik Backman’s latest masterpiece, Anxious People, he introduces us to a motley crew of hostages and an equally peculiar bank robber. The unlikely group is thrown together during a failed bank robbery and end up trapped inside an apartment.

As the situation escalates, the characters’ individual stories and secrets are slowly revealed, each one more heartbreaking than the last. Backman’s latest novel tackles the themes of love, loss, and forgiveness with his signature wit and humor.

Anxious People is a poignant novel about human connection and the power of empathy, proving once again that Backman is a master storyteller.

About the Author

Meet Fredrik Backman, a bestselling author with a global following. You might recognize his name from his popular book A Man Called Ove, which is set to become a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks.

Backman has also penned other beloved novels, including My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, and Us Against You. In addition to his fiction work, he’s written two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime.

This May, US readers can look forward to his first non-fiction book, Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. Backman’s books have been published in over 40 countries and his success has made him a literary icon.

Despite his fame, he still resides in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife and two children. Connect with him on social media via Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @backmansk.

Editoral Review

Beartown, written by author Fredrik Backman, presents a searing and poignant portrayal of life in a small community in Sweden that most would recognize as any small, working-class town. Originally released on September 15th, 2016, the novel has garnered a great deal of attention for its unflinching depiction of sport, friendship, and rivalry.

The book is set in Beartown, a town which has seen better days. The town’s economy is in shambles, and the future of the town depends on a group of young hockey players.

The storyline revolves mainly around the Beartown hockey team, their coach, and their star player, and is narrated through multiple points of view. Backman’s writing is gripping, and he does an excellent job of incorporating the intricate details of small-town life into his descriptions.

Beartown is a fascinating novel filled with complex characters that are easy to connect with, and their story is one that has the depth and nuance of a historical epic despite being limited to a single community. The book’s central theme focuses on the community’s devotion towards the hockey team while questioning the genuine relationship between hockey and violence.

The novel showcases how the players, coaches, parents and even politicians work to manipulate the events that occur on and off the ice, reflecting the competitive nature of small-town life. While the novel boasts some impressive features, there are moments where the story veers off-track.

It appears as though Backman takes a considerable amount of time to build up and establish the setting and characters, but we don’t receive a fully satisfying payoff. Some of the characters disappear from the story entirely, leaving readers feeling unsatisfied and confused.

The characters are undoubtedly the strengths of this book, and each has a compelling and believable backstory. However, some of the characters are underdeveloped, and we don’t receive a sense of what drives them or what their motives may be.

All said and done, Beartown is a remarkable achievement, and it is certainly worth picking up. Backman’s writing style is exceptional, and he has a keen eye for detail.

The book’s honest portrayal of small-town life and the emotional journey of its characters will resonate with readers on many levels. Though it’s categorized as a sports fiction novel, Beartown transcends that genre.

It presents thoughtful themes related to the pressures of team sports in a small community, sexuality and gender roles, and political power. Therefore, we would recommend this book to anyone searching for a poignant and nuanced story that will move them profoundly.

Overall, Beartown is a poignant, engrossing, and instructive read, deserving of a 4/5 rating.

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