Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 66 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When the bank robber goes back inside the apartment, almost everyone is laughing (except for Roger, who’s arguing with the real estate agent about the incorrect apartment plans). Zara and Lennart are standing by the window. Zara doesn’t seem to hate Lennart—and he seems to adore her.
The scene in front of the bank robber again highlights the positive, fulfilling relationships that sprung up as a result of the hostage drama. Even Zara, who spent most of the time refusing to engage with people, seems poised to fall in love.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Julia spots Anna-Lena standing alone and gets up to tell her that hiring Lennart to boost Roger’s confidence was weird but very romantic. Anna-Lena says Roger should’ve had a chance to get promoted. But being married and having kids is like climbing trees: you both climb and climb and sometimes you don’t see each other, but you keep climbing. She always figured they’d end up on the same branch, but life went so fast, and Roger never got his turn. Julia says Julia’s mom says to never apologize for being good at something. Anna-Lena deems this wise.
Anna-Lena’s tree metaphor mirrors how the robber has described her marriage: she thought life was fine and she and her husband were on the same page, but in the end, it turned out they weren’t. Anna-Lena and Roger are still married, but Anna-Lena feels like she and Roger will still have to work hard to end up on the same proverbial branch. Still, Julia suggests that Anna-Lena shouldn’t regret having had such a fulfilling career—she still has time, after all, to work on her marriage.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Quotes
Several loud bangs break the ensuing silence, and Lennart exclaims that there are fireworks going off outside. Jim is setting them off by the bridge and fortunately, he likes fireworks. Everyone stands on the balcony to watch, and Estelle thanks the robber and says Knut would’ve liked this. The robber apologizes for all the trouble and holds Estelle’s hand.
Setting the fireworks off near the bridge symbolically ties all the police and everyone in the apartment to the bridge—now, it’s more clearly a symbol for connection. The fireworks also allow the robber and Estelle to strengthen their relationship, suggesting that they can perhaps remain friends when this is all over.
Themes
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
When the fireworks are over and everyone goes back inside, the robber tries to discreetly signal to the real estate agent. But the agent is arguing with Roger about how much Julia and Ro should pay for the apartment. Finally, the agent snaps that she can go lower, but only because she’s selling the apartment across the landing in two weeks. Seeing everyone’s curious looks, she explains that you can’t sell two apartments in the same building at once, but the other apartment is the same, though it has a smaller closet. Julia asks if the agent has the keys and looks at the robber. Scoffing, the agent says she doesn’t. The bank robber’s heart falls.
Having recognized many of his own insecurities in Ro, Roger has now stepped into a surrogate father role to her. Since Ro’s dad isn’t around to check out the apartment and okay it, Roger is making sure the Realtor doesn’t try to cheat or otherwise hurt Ro and Julia’s chances. When it comes out that the agent is also selling the apartment across the landing, Julia seems to have the same thought that Jim and the robber did. But everything seems lost when the agent says she doesn’t have the key.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
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Estelle chirps that she had an affair once as she opens another bottle of wine. She repeats this as she stares into the robber’s eyes, and she explains that her lover liked books while Knut liked music. The robber says she also likes books. Estelle says all people make mistakes, like her affair with her neighbor. He gave her a key, and she kept it. Running her hands along her bookcase, a book falls out, open. A key bounces on the floor.
It’s easy to write Estelle off at first, given how drunk she is. But she ultimately reveals that she’s familiar with the apartment’s food offerings and wine storage because this is her apartment—and she has the key to the apartment across the landing. She also indirectly makes the case that good things can come of people’s mistakes. She has the key because she mistakenly had an affair—and perhaps good things can also happen for the robber.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Panting, Estelle says that when Knut got sick, they signed the apartment to their daughter, but she doesn’t want to live here. Estelle has been here alone ever since, and finally, her daughter convinced her to sell. So she contacted an agent and asked for a viewing the day before New Year’s Eve so she could have company. She pretended to be a buyer so she’d know who bought it. This is her home, after all, and she wants to sell to someone who will love it. Estelle confirms that her lover was the neighbor in the apartment across the landing—and the new owners never changed the locks. The bank robber is speechless, but Estelle tells her to go hide and then go home to her daughters. Everyone agrees to lie to the police for her.
This passage explains why Estelle has been so keen to get to know everyone: she’s extremely lonely and essentially just wanted to throw a party. Then, she also echoes what Zara has said about apartments being homes, not investments. If she’s going to sell, she needs to know that this is going to be a home for the buyers—even if they do have to take out a mortgage to afford the apartment. As the hostages all agree to lie to the police, they again show how transformative the hostage drama has been for them. They’ve come out with new friends and a greater appreciation for getting to know complete strangers.
Themes
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Quotes
The bank robber tries to argue—but before she can leave, Jim knocks on the door. Roger grouses that with a policeman outside, the robber can’t sneak over. Zara suggests they try to bribe him, but the robber keeps her conversation with Jim a secret. She tells everyone to walk out so they can tell the truth: that she was in the apartment when they left. Estelle puts the pizza in the fridge and gives the robber her phone number. Later, when Jack comes upstairs, Jim is still in the stairwell. He tells his son that the robber is still in the apartment. Then, Jim picks up the drawing in the stairwell.
The robber gives the hostages a small gift by making sure they can all tell the truth that they left her in the apartment. This means that in their witness interviews, all they have to do is distract Jim and Jack and share this one important fact with the police. When Estelle gives the robber her number, it confirms that the two will remain friends after this, another good thing to come of the hostage drama.
Themes
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Earlier, Ro found the special phone in a pizza box, put it on the table, and then forgot about it. After the rest of the hostages left, the robber wiped her prints off of the pistol and set it on the table next to the phone. She threw her ski mask in the fire and left the apartment. She showed Jim the key and said she didn’t tell anyone about him helping her. Jim wouldn’t let her apologize, so she entered the other apartment. Jim was left in the stairwell, hoping his wife would be proud or at least not angry. Then Jack came upstairs, the negotiator called the phone, and the pistol went off.
Here, readers learn that it was really a complete accident that the pistol went off, as Ro never mentioned the special phone to anyone after she took it out of the box. This is a particularly difficult situation for Jim. He doesn’t seem to fear losing his job over his actions; rather, what’s most important to him is that his wife would agree that he did the right thing. This speaks too to the strength of Jim and his wife’s marriage. Even after she’s gone, he tries to impress her.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon