Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 61 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Roger is right: the two apartments on the top floor used to be one, and it was eventually split using “creative solutions” like the ventilation duct and the double wall. The vent hasn’t been used in years, but it’s just the right size for a small, scared real estate agent. When Lennart sticks his head into the vent, his rabbit head gets stuck and comes off. Lennart falls off the ladder, the agent tumbles out of the vent on top of him, and Anna-Lena also falls over. Roger, Ro, and the bank robber rush over when they hear the noise, and once everyone is standing, Anna-Lena shrieks that Lennart is bleeding. He groans, trips, and a bag of blood flies out of his hand and onto the living room floor. He explains it’s an optional add-on for this service. Anna-Lena and Julia ask him to put pants on.
This passage clears up several mysteries, such as how the rabbit head ended up in the vent, where the blood came from, and where the agent has been. When Roger, Ro, and the robber all run to check on the noise, it highlights how much this diverse group of people has come to care about one another—a crash is enough to bring them all running to make sure everyone is okay.
Themes
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Lennart comes out of the closet, dressed, just as Zara comes in from the balcony. To her surprise, she doesn’t hate him. Roger turns to the real estate agent and asks where she’s been. She explains that she was nervous for the showing, so she hid in the closet—and then the bank robber came in and she was so afraid that she climbed up into the vent. Suddenly remembering herself, the agent asks, “HOW’S TRICKS?” and asks if anyone would like to offer on the apartment. Roger asks why this viewing is happening on the day before New Year’s Day. The agent says the seller requested it, and House Tricks Real Estate Agency works every day.
That Zara doesn’t hate Lennart once Lennart is clothed highlights that the attraction is mutual—Zara is also taken with him. It’s humorous when the agent picks herself up so fast and resumes her fast-talking salesperson persona, as she totally ignores that she’s in the middle of a hostage drama. When she notes that the seller requested a showing on this day, it recalls London saying earlier that robbers who ask for exactly 6,500 kroner have a reason. Perhaps the seller also had a reason to choose this specific day.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Annoyed, Julia shuts the balcony door and decides to light a fire in the fireplace while they wait for the pizzas. Looking around at her hostages, the bank robber sighs that they can all go. She’ll let the police take her; she just needed rent money so her ex-husband wouldn’t take her daughters away. She’s sobbing by now. Julia, Anna-Lena, and Estelle suggest that they can fix this, and Ro and Estelle insist they wait for the pizzas. Estelle leads the robber away to help set the table and Zara gives Julia her lighter without Julia having to ask. Roger gruffly asks if Julia knows how to light a fire. Julia is ready to snarl at him, but after hearing everyone else’s stories, she decides to generously ask Roger to show her how. They decide to do it together.
Though the bank robber would love for this to just be a social event, she can’t ignore that she’s fundamentally different from her hostages. She’s a criminal now, and she’ll have to face the consequences of trying to rob a bank and taking people hostage. This passage sets the robber’s plight aside for now to instead focus on how the hostages are continuing to strengthen their relationships. Zara is now willing to help out, and Julia is going out of her way to not treat Roger like he’s a mean, crotchety old man. Julia in particular has learned the value of listening and learning what strangers are all about before judging them.
Themes
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Quotes
Though Roger insists the damper is open, the fire smokes until Julia opens the damper. She and Roger start laughing. They both say the other’s wife is nice, and then Roger says that Julia and Ro should buy the apartment. Julia says Ro doesn’t want it, but Roger says Ro is just afraid she’s not good enough. After a moment, Julia says that Roger doesn’t have to prove himself to Anna-Lena. He is good enough. They both stare into the fire and get smoke in their eyes, and then Jim knocks on the door.
When Roger laughs, he essentially admits that he was wrong about the damper—which seems like a big step for him. Both Roger and Julia can then tell the other that they don’t have to feel so insecure in their lives and relationships. After getting to know the other’s spouses, they can both see how in love the other couple is. And hearing this from a stranger is enough to bring both Roger and Julia to tears, though they blame it on the smoke.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
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