Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Now, it’s the afternoon of the day before New Year’s Eve in a medium-size town. A young policeman is in an interrogation room with a real estate agent, and the questioning isn’t going well—it takes the officer too long to understand that the Realtor’s agency is called House Tricks real estate agency, and their tagline is “How’s Tricks?” The officer is certain the Realtor is babbling and traumatized. He’s not in the best mood either; his boss’s boss’s boss is sending a team from Stockholm to investigate the hostage situation, even though the local police are totally competent.
The young officer is annoyed because it seems to him like his bosses don’t trust him to handle the hostage situation, though he’s certain he can do it just fine on his own. This may influence how he interacts with the real estate agent, as he may be less accommodating than usual. But in believing that the Realtor is “babbling and traumatized,” rather than taking their attempts to advertise their business seriously, the officer does the same thing his bosses are doing to him: discrediting the agent.
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The young policeman asks if the day before New Year’s Eve isn’t an odd day for a showing. Ignoring the officer asking if the apartment has any hidden closets or passageways, the Realtor describes the open floor plan and light, bright atmosphere. It’s also a great spot for kids. Then, the officer asks about the bank robber, and why he (the robber) took the prospective buyers hostage. The Realtor says it’s because the apartment is open plan; the robber could point the gun at all of them at once. Steadying himself and wishing he’d chosen a different profession (his dad disapproves, while his mom, a priest, totally gets it), the officer says they need to know about hiding spots because they believe the robber is still in the apartment.
The Realtor provides some comic relief, and it’s becoming clearer that perhaps the officer has the right idea: this isn’t a person he should take too seriously. For instance, the Realtor totally misses the point when the officer asks why the robber took hostages. The officer is looking for a motive, not a literal description of why the open floorplan makes it easier to scare people with a gun. Noting that the robber might still be in the apartment increases the tension: nobody knows where the robber is, but the police are trying their best to find out.
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