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Publisher's Summary

An instant number-one New York Times best seller, the new novel from the author of A Man Called Ove is a “quirky, big-hearted novel.... Wry, wise and often laugh-out-loud funny, it’s a wholly original story that delivers pure pleasure” (People).

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them - the bank robber included - desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Proving once again that Backman is “a master of writing delightful, insightful, soulful, character-driven narratives” (USA Today), Anxious People “captures the messy essence of being human….It’s clever and affecting, as likely to make you laugh out loud as it is to make you cry” (The Washington Post). This “endlessly entertaining mood-booster” (Real Simple) is proof that the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope can save us - even in the most anxious of times.

©2020 Fredrik Backman. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved. Translation Copyright ©2020 Neil Smith. Originally published in Sweden in 2019 as Folk med Angest Published by arrangement with Salomonsson Agency

Featured Article: Hit the Open Highway with the Best Road Trip Listens to Hear This Summer


In theory, any audiobook, audio performance, or podcast can be listened to in the car, but it takes more than great storytelling to be the right fit for every type of road trip. What works for a cross-country adventure may not be quite right for a quick day trip. What you listen to with your significant other may not be (read: is definitely not) the same as what you listen to with a carload of kids. No matter what kind of journey you have coming up, we’ve got you covered.

Editor's Pick

A locked-room mystery that’s pure Fredrik Backman
After unsuccessfully attempting to hold up a cashless bank, a desperate father accidentally creates a hostage situation after running headfirst into an apartment viewing. From our bumbling would-be robber, to the collection of “regular” folks locked in together, to the father–son cop team who lead the investigation, each character has a story to be told. What’s revealed is pure Backman truth-telling that perfectly captures the human experience with humor, tenderness, and wisdom. And the shining glory of this listen is narrator Marin Ireland’s performance. She simply nails it—all of it: Backman’s uncanny ability to get to the heart of things and in giving each and every quirky character a voice that resonates. I’m still smiling and can’t wait for the next Backman/Ireland collaboration! —Tricia F., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Anxious People

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Read. This. Now.

I read everything. Anything that comes my way, on a voracious journey to find books that make me FEEL. Once, in a great while, comes a book like this. A book I can read again and again, and the feel is always there.

Mr Backman is an author for our time, of our time.

102 people found this helpful

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Didn't work for me.

I've listened to A Man Named Ove, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, and Us against You, written by Fredrik Backman and assumed I would love this one as much as I loved all his others, in fact I would consider him one of my favorite authors. Sadly, sadly this book was painful to listen to. A big part of the problem was the narrator, Marin Ireland who has done a fine job with some of his other books, but in Anxious People the voices she uses for the dialog sounds like she's narrating a children's book. It felt like every single conversation was a misunderstanding and I became increasingly frustrated until 5 hours into I couldn't stand it any more, give up and returned it. Shaking my head over the great reviews for this one.

85 people found this helpful

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We are all idiots

Anxious People is Fredrik Backman latest book. He has a way of telling stories like no other author I have read. Even with an expansive set of characters, he is able to make each one unique in their own way. Essentially, this book is what it means to be human.

My first introduction to Fredrik Backman work was through "A Man Called Ove". I was moved by Fredrik Backman writing about loneliness. It tells a beautiful story about a grumpy old man named Ove, and his unintentional friendship with his neighbour called Parveneh. It is a tale about friendship, love, and loneliness.

Anxious People is about life and idiots.

In our current western society, a lot of the medium we consume tells us we have to special. Tik Tok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Movies, TV Shows, and companies all are selling us individuality and perfection. It could be certain products to make us look a certain way, videos that show off the perfect family, or the perfect life, or products that make us unique. We hear comments "once in a lifetime experience", "limit edition", or "it is life-changing". If we are boring, we are uninteresting, if we are unhappy, we are ill, and if we are lost in life, we are a failure.

However, Anxious People reminds us that we do not have to be perfect. We find perfection in imperfection, we find happiness in the mundane, and we find love in the unexpected. This is all of our first-time experiencing life. We did not have practice before-hand, and there is no course guide on how to do life. It is up to us to figure that out, and of course, we are going to make many mistakes. Some of us make some really bad choice. However, we all do deserve a second chance to try again: this time, a bit wiser. In the end, we are all just a bunch of idiots trying our best, and that is all we can really ask for ourselves and for each other.

74 people found this helpful

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✫✫ 4.5 Stars ✫✫

Another hit by Fredrik Backman. I love his whimsical & humorous writing style about real subjects. This book had it all, I think I had every emotion at some point while listening to this book. It is about idiots, or maybe just real people and the choices they make good or bad (his words not mine) ;) At first I hated all of the characters and wanted them all to just shut up and by the end I adored almost all of them and their quirkiness. I feel like Backman does an amazing job at showing us the characters faults and then making us see they are just normal people like me & you.

Marin Ireland is perfect for Backman's work. She embraces the writing style with her narration and enhances the experience. I don't know if I would enjoy his book as much with an average narrator.

58 people found this helpful

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Hang In There

The first few chapters I was struggling to get through because the characters were not very likable. I am so glad I did continue to listen. It is a good reminder to be kind to others. We have no idea what burdens they are carrying.

46 people found this helpful

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Backman’s words and Ireland’s voice = MAGIC

I am a huge Fredrik Backman fan and couldn’t wait for this book to be released in English. This work of genius is a heartwarming, carefully woven, wise yet whimsical tale on its own, and Marie Ireland’s voice somehow brings it together with such perfection that it just shines even more! I just finished after over 6 hours of listening today and all I want to do is listen again. If you’re a Backman fan already, you definitely won’t want to miss this. And if you aren’t a fan yet, you’re about to be!

37 people found this helpful

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Hysterical

Highly recommend this book!! I laughed through the entire thing and read it in a single day. The narrator is superb. This might really be one of my favorite books.

34 people found this helpful

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I Tried

I loved A Man Called Ove! I was excited about this one, but I just could not take another minute of the annoying characters. I think where the story is going is worthy, just takes forever and again, annoying characters. Sorry, Mr Backman, I returned this one.

31 people found this helpful

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20000 STARS GREAT IN EVERY WAY!!

The character development on each and every "Anxious" person...is so smart and superior. I listened to some sections on the slowest speed just so I could write down the words!! About divorce, about love, about relationships, about banking and finance! FREDRIK BACKMAN DOES IT AGAIN!!!! I think this one is his best yet! I pray he lives a veryyyyy long time to share his delicate, thoughtful words!! I even actually LAUGHED OUT LOUD at the snarky Zara comments!! THANK YOU BACKMAN AND KEEP WRITING and I will stick with Audible. MARIN IRELAND'S NARRATION WAS ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!! I felt like I was listening to a Broadway play!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

27 people found this helpful

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Remarkable.

I believe I have found my favorite author. This is another of his beautiful books. Another book that tells us we are deeply connected and deeply flawed. Another book that tells us to understand one another leaves no room for condemnation. Another book that tells us That despite our individual stories, we are, above everything, human beings who need to reach out and love.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-21

Great book

Another great one from this fabulous author. Good plot with unexpected twists and turns, and interesting and relatable characters. All this with humour and insight. Brilliant!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Miss Reads-a-lot
  • 10-19-20

Just brilliant

This book is so clever. I laughed and cried and felt for all the characters. The narrator did an incredible job as there are a lot of voices but she made each one distinct.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MRS ANGELA M FOUHY
  • 11-21-21

A simply beautiful book

Just lovely., And moving. Shades of "The Bridge of San Luis Ray" - many back stories all coming together, culminating in an event. I really enjoyed it. Great narration.

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  • evagelia stavropoulos
  • 09-17-21

A great read

A thoughtful and very funny story. I loved the performance, you really get to know the characters so well

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  • Joseph
  • 07-07-21

"this is a story" of bad writing

I could not finish this book. it didn't peek my interest at all. the author kept on starting with "This is a story" and that is, to me, an obnoxious way to tell a story. just... tell the story!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-18-21

Just brilliant

I bought this on a whim, knowing nothing about it and heavens to Betsy am I glad I did! An absolute gem of a book, creatively narrated. Fredrik Backman's style blew me away, turning seemingly mundane details into the important moments in the characters' lives that made them who they are now. I can't recommend this enough. I'll probably listen to it again very soon.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-28-21

Unique, strange & beautiful

This was such a wonderfully unique piece of writing.

It’s equally strange as it is beautiful with moments that challenge you and shatter you.

I loved the journey the characters go on both separately & together and somehow over time they begin to feel like old friends.

This book made me laugh - it made me cry and it made me confront the the truth about humans. We are all stupid, we all make mistakes and we’re all beautiful in our own way.

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  • Christine
  • 03-01-21

Outstanding

What a wonderful book, so full of surprises, so engaging and moving and a wonderful insight into human behaviour and emotions. I loved it!

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  • Ashley Mossman
  • 02-09-21

A lovely Stiry

Might seem slow at first but it’s very enjoyable. A lovely story that all ties up very neatly.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-20-20

Wow

Best book I have read all year. Absolutely loved it. Funny, wise, depressing, hopeful, delightful all at the same time. Brilliant book.