Bring tissues and extra comforting coffee
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Bring tissues and extra comforting coffee

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman is an extraordinary story. Backman's masterful use of narrative gap builds both story tension and fascinating puzzles for the reader to solve. Backman treats their readers as smart, savvy puzzle solvers and leaves plenty of puzzles to solve. trusting the reader to figure out who did what in the past and how that created their current situation.

Backman's intimate, inner most thoughts shared, style creates this feeling in the reader that they are thinking the same thoughts as the character even if the reader has never had such a thought before in their life. It seems plausible to the reader that they would, in fact, be thinking exactly that thought at that time; that the character is acting and thinking exactly as the reader would.

Backman's characters are in some way become extensions of the reader's self. A we're-all-experiencing-this-together intimacy is created wherein these thoughts you're reading are the thoughts I'm thinking are your thoughts and your thoughts are my thoughts kind of way. The realism of Backman's characters inner thoughts serves to strengthen the bond between reader and character.

So intense is the connection between character and reader I spent quite a bit of the book openly crying. Lightning, my dog, was very concerned, especially at the end when I just couldn't stop reading or crying and sat with a wet tissue pressed up under my nose reading with tear blurred eyes. Backman kept the emotional swings wide despair alternating with and joy, wringing more tears with each swing.

Backman's characters live in our world, hurt with our world's hurts and thrive on our world's joys. To read Anxious People is to find new depth, new colour and new hope in our world.

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