Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 29 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In Anna-Lena’s witness interview with Jack later that afternoon, she refuses to speak. She finally mentions that the robber entered the apartment, but then says Jack should speak to Roger, who has a better memory. Jack asks if Roger and Anna-Lena didn’t intend to settle in the apartment, since Roger called it a “good investment.” He explains that they’re trying to come up with motives, as someone helped the robber. Anna-Lena says Zara looked suspicious, but ancient Estelle certainly had nothing to do with it. She and Roger never help anyone at viewings, as it’s war. Roger is a great negotiator; they buy apartments, renovate them, Anna-Lena decorates them, and then they sell. When Jack observes that Anna-Lena looks like she’s crying, she says it’s been a long day.
Anna-Lena’s interview is a bit all over the place, which may be because, as Zara noted in her witness interview, it’s traumatic to have a gun pointed at you. However, note that Anna-Lena isn’t fixating on the robbery or the hostage aspect of her day—rather, she’s far more caught up in defending (or condemning) the other hostages and in describing her relationship to Roger. She also explains why she and Roger refused to lend Ro their tape measure: they see buying apartments as “war,” and other prospective buyers as their enemies.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Anna-Lena says that she and Roger like sharing projects, and Roger is more sensitive than he looks. But he thinks she’s boring, which is why they need projects to do together. Jack asks about the other people at the viewing. Anna-Lena says that they were all looking for homes, which makes them emotional idiots—she and Roger look for investments, not homes. Denying she’s crying, Anna-Lena says Roger does most of the thinking. Roger is like a shark he saw once in a documentary that has to keep moving or it dies—and that’s how their marriage has turned out, too.
Anna-Lena’s anxiety about the future of her marriage is palpable here. She seems to fear that she’s not good enough and that if she doesn’t keep moving with Roger, he’ll leave her behind. But what she says isn’t particularly well thought-out; it reads more as ramblings—in fact, Anna-Lena sounds like the emotional one here, rather than the other prospective buyers.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jack tries to get the interview back on track, but Anna-Lena says that Roger doesn’t want to stay married to her. She explains that they’ve been visiting all the IKEAs in Sweden, and they recently visited the last one. To mark the occasion, Roger suggested they get cake. He’s very romantic, and he doesn’t hate children. Jack is confused, but Anna-Lena says she distracts Roger in the children’s section because he loves kids so much. When Jack apologizes for Anna-Lena and Roger not being able to have kids, Anna-Lena says they have two. But neither of their children wants kids. They must’ve been terrible parents if their kids don’t want to have kids. Everything is her fault. She wants a home, and she shouldn’t have paid for the rabbit.
Anna-Lena continues to add context throughout her witness interview. She shares that Roger is grieving that he’s never going to be a grandfather. This highlights the difficulty of being a parent when one’s kids grow up and make choices their parents don’t understand or agree with—in this case, his kids’ choices cause Roger immense grief. Anna-Lena, though, is mostly upset because she believes her marriage is ending. Noting that she wants a home (rather than an investment) aligns her with the other buyers she previously mocked—and situates her on the opposite side of Roger.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon