BookClub logo

“Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman

A Comprehensive Exploration

By Kristiyan ParzulovPublished 4 months ago 4 min read

“Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman is a provocative examination of fragility, human nature, and the interdependence of our lives. Readers are taken on a journey through a variety of interesting individuals whose lives unexpectedly cross in this endearing and amusing story. Fundamentally, the book explores how our fears impact our lives and how they frequently cause us to act in unanticipated ways.



Jim, a police officer dealing with his wife’s death, is a major character in the story and his journey through loneliness and bereavement. His difficulties are authentically and empathetically depicted.


Father Ro, who is going to file for divorce, worries about his tense connection with his son Jack. His persona represents the challenges of divorce, parenthood, and personal development.

Zara and Jesper

This elderly couple is a representation of the fears associated with getting older and living alone. Their narrative offers a heartfelt meditation on time’s passage and the common experience of growing older.

The Bank Robber

The bank robber is first shown as a frightening figure, but it soon becomes clear that he or she is a weak, desperate person who turns to crime out of desperation. His persona deepens the narrative by dispelling clichés and emphasizing the characters’ common humanity.

“The Father”

“The Father” is a mysterious, omniscient figure who makes philosophical observations throughout the book. He serves as a narrative guide, providing insights on the nature of anxiety and the connections between our lives.


1. Anxiety and Vulnerability

“Anxious People” is fundamentally a study of the different types of anxiety that people experience. Each character is battling personal anxieties, and the narrative delves into how these anxieties influence their decisions and behaviors.

2. Human Connection

The novel emphasizes how crucial empathy and human connection are during difficult times. The characters come together as a support system through their common experience as hostages, which enables them to face their worries and fears.

3. Parenthood and Relationships

The book explores the challenges and stresses that come with being a parent, especially in relationships. The character of Ro and his developing bond with his son Jack serve as a powerful example of the difficulties and joys of parenthood.

4. Aging and Time

The book examines the fears related to growing older and time passing through the perspectives of Zara and Jesper. It considers the common experience of aging and the anxiety associated with becoming alone in old age.

The Narrative Unfolds

A hilariously failed bank robbery that starts the story sets off a series of events. Following the bank robber’s escape, a small town’s apartment viewing results in the attendees becoming unintentional hostages.

Both the bank robber and the hostages in this strange situation, with their own fears and anxieties, have to face their common situation. Their unique backstories emerge as the story goes on, exposing the fears that guide each of their lives.

Backman’s writing skillfully combines poignant emotional insight with humor. The narrative is replete with sharp and funny exchanges that, despite the serious subject matter, manage to maintain a lighthearted tone. The characters use this humor as a coping method in addition to being entertaining.

Chapters starring “The Father,” an enigmatic and philosophic figure who offers insightful observations on anxiety and the interconnectivity of people’s lives, are woven throughout the story. These digressions encourage readers to consider the book’s larger themes.

Human Connection Amidst Anxiety

Together with the bank robber, the hostages progressively create a makeshift support network by sharing their hopes, regrets, and fears. They learn that they are not alone in their worries and find comfort in their common humanity as a result of these encounters.

A major change occurs in Ro’s relationship with his son, Jack, while they are hostages. Their broken bond is repaired as a result of open dialogue and shared experiences, highlighting the importance of vulnerability and communication in reducing anxiety and fostering stronger bonds.

Amidst his loneliness and grief, Jim, the police officer, also discovers a ray of hope. He makes friends among the other captives, especially Zara and Jesper, and feels at home in this strange group. Jim starts to get over the loss of his wife and move on thanks to their shared experiences.

At first, portrayed as a menacing entity, the bank robber eventually reveals his own fears and difficulties. His desperation and vulnerability become apparent to the hostages as they get to know him, which challenges their preconceived notions of him and inspires empathy.

The Power of Connection

The characters have to face their fears head-on as the situation grows more tense and the police close in on the apartment. They have to choose in a heart-stopping finale whether to confront their regrets and fears or give in to the intense anxiety of the moment.

Backman skillfully integrates the many character arcs to produce a satisfying and poignant resolution. In the end, the book emphasizes how important empathy, vulnerability, and human connection are to overcoming anxiety and discovering purpose in life.


Fredrik Backman’s “Anxious People” is a fascinating examination of the worries that influence our lives and the ways in which our common humanity can provide comfort and a sense of community. The novel provides a poignant and humorous depiction of the human condition through its well-developed characters, clever dialogue, and philosophical reflections.

Backman’s skill as a storyteller is evident as he skillfully and humorously navigates the complexities of anxiety, leaving readers with a deep sense of understanding and hope. This amazing book serves as a reminder that, at our core, we are all just nervous individuals looking for purpose and connection in our lives.

If you enjoyed my summary then you should definitely check out the full book here.

GenreVocal Book ClubThemeReviewRecommendationReading ListReading ChallengeQuoteAuthor

About the Creator

Kristiyan Parzulov

I Give my Personal Book Reviews 👏👏 of the Most Popular Bestsellers!

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.