“It’s harder than you might think to take people hostage when they’re idiots.”
by Frederick Backman – Norway
2020 (349 pages)
Read by Marin Ireland
Rating 7.5 / general fiction
In a very small city in Sweden, a bank robber is having a terrible day. The bank he has chosen to enter with what he thinks is a toy gun is, to make things worse, cashless; they only transfer payments between accounts. This information unnerves our troubled bank robber, so he runs outside and then into an apartment which is being shown to a group of potential buyers. Someone from the bank calls the police who up almost immediately. They interview a teller at the bank while the group at the apartment just stands around not noticing anything different.
The group viewing the apartment includes 2 couples and a single woman. The first couple is retired and they buy apartments to fix up and flip. The second couple is having their first child but they’re lesbians so that’s an added complication. The single woman is a banker herself, as it turns out; she’s just observing for her own purposes. But that small group of potential buyers grows.
The cops interview everyone involved and it seems each one of them has a serious issue or two – personality problems usually. And the reader gets the background stories of the bank robber and a therapist, too. The story then commences in a complicated and funny, but more or less chronological sort of way. It’s supposed to be heart-warming but I enjoyed Backman’s Bear Town, which I read earlier this month, more. (review on this site)
Becky, this is a good book, but not as good as his “A Man called Ove.” It is a little disjointed at times, but that is likely his intent – to make you feel anxious. Keith
I agree it’s a pretty good book – I liked parts of it – but I found it kind of silly in places and I kept falling asleep. I’ve read A Man Called One and that might be my favorite but Bear Town is runner up. I didn’t much like the Grandma book. Anxious People falls somewhere in the middle.