“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
The Bankrobber – made an unwise decision and robbed a bank for only enough money to pay a month’s rent because the divorce lawyer said that was the only was to keep the children. This action led to a hostage situation.
Jack and Jim – a father and son who are both police officers in the small town where the story takes place. Their opinions differ greatly on police tactics, but they have a strong familial bond.
Zara – a wealthy bank manager who suffers from insomnia and dislikes people. She is scathingly and sometimes cruelly sarcastic, deeply unhappy and extremely lonely.
Julia and Ro – a lesbian couple who are expecting a baby any day now. They love each other intensely, but have a deeply embedded fear of what the future holds…
Roger and Anna-Lena – a retired couple who turn over apartments continually – fixing them up and then selling them on. Though they love each other deeply there are serious rifts in their marriage.
Estelle – an eighty-seven year old widow who still grieves her late husband Knut. She has lived long enough to have learned a deep compassion for her fellow man – and takes an immediate liking to the bankrobber.
Lennart – an actor who works sporadically as someone who is paid to sabotage real estate viewings.
Fredrik Backman’s writing displays such profound empathy for humankind that he must be an ‘old soul’ in a young man’s body. His writing elevates a quirky and sometimes farcical little story into something that moves you and makes you think.
Once again he delves deeply into the parent child relationship while at the same time exploring the themes of loss, loneliness, anxiety, happiness, economics, suicide, how one person’s life affects another persons, and doing the best you can…
Highly, highly, recommended!
“If you can do something for someone in such a way that they think they managed it all on their own, then you’ve done a good job.”
“That’s the power of literature, you know, it can act like little love letters between people who can only explain their feelings by pointing at other people’s.”
“When you’re a child you long to be an adult and decide everything for yourself, but when you’re an adult you realize that’s the worst part of it.”
“It just hurts so much at times, being human.”
“You can’t protect your kids from life, because life gets us all in the end.”
“Loneliness is like starvation, you don’t realize who hungry you are until you begin to eat.”
“We don’t want our children to pursue their own dreams or walk in our footsteps. We want to walk in their footsteps while they pursue our dreams.”
“It’s easier to live with your own anxieties if you know that no one else is happy, either.”
“No one in the world shared her prospects, and that’s the greatest loneliness in the world: when no one is walking beside you toward your destination.”
“The truth? It’s hardly ever as complicated as we think. We just hope it is, because then we feel smarter if we can work it out in advance.”
“People need bureaucracy, to give then time to think before they do something stupid.”
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.
ISBN:9781501160837 ASIN: B084GB475S 352 pages
Fredrik Backman is a Swedish columnist, blogger and writer of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries, in more than twenty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.