Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 68 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On the back steps of the police station, Estelle hugs everyone but Zara (who blocks her attempt). Julia invites Estelle to have coffee with them, but Estelle refuses. She tells the agent she doesn’t want to sell, and the agent says that’s lovely. Lennart says all the apartments not for sale are pretty romantic. Estelle is thrilled: she’s going to be neighbors with Julia and Ro, and she and Julia will swap books. She already knows what to give Julia first.
Things couldn’t have turned out any better for Estelle. Thanks to the hostage drama, she now has a community again in her building. And thanks to Roger’s nudge, Ro and Julia now feel prepared to commit to buying an apartment. Buying their apartment also puts them in the category of “romantic” apartments that Lennart describes: they’ll be there for a while, living their lives.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
In the following weeks and months, Ro will lose her dad. Ro’s mom will find a reason to live in another man: Julia and Ro’s son. Ro and Julia will remain quirky, and the monkey and the frog will visit them every day and love them. Julia and Ro will argue and make up, and they’re always better at making up than at fighting.
For now, it’s unclear where the monkey and the frog will live, but this highlights that they and the robber will remain a part of Ro and Julia’s life long after the hostage drama is over. And Ro and Julia will, the narrator reveals, be able to patch up their marriage and continue to fight fairly for years to come.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Back in the present, Zara hurries off the steps to avoid more hugs. Lennart follows her and asks if she’d like to share a taxi. Zara has never shared a taxi in her life, but she tells Lennart he can sit in the front. Anna-Lena is still sitting on the steps, and Roger sits down next to her. She wants to apologize, but it’s hard. Instead, she suggests they go to IKEA and look at the countertop he’s interested in. Roger mumbles that maybe they could go see a movie instead. They hold hands in the theater. It feels like “coming home” for Anna-Lena, and like “being good enough” for Roger.
Zara and Lennart seem poised to begin dating each other, something that will further pull Zara out of her shell and connect her to other people. Anna-Lena and Roger, on the other hand, strengthen their relationship by not trying so hard to impress the other. As they accept that they’re both enough and take the other’s dreams seriously, they, too, seem prepared to revive their commitment to each other.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Estelle walks back home and calls her daughter to tell her not to worry about the apartment. Estelle is going to have to give up smoking, because a young woman (the robber) is moving in and won’t let her smoke in the closet. Really, the woman is renting the apartment from Estelle’s daughter while Estelle rents a bedroom for the full 6,500 kroner. There’s a drawing of a monkey, a frog, and an elk on the fridge, which Estelle stole from Jim. This family watches fireworks from the balcony every New Year’s Eve until, finally, Estelle dies. Ro, Julia, and their son attend her funeral, and as teens, the monkey and the frog smoke in the closet. And in a basement storage area where the bank robber once slept, a would-be bank robber can’t rob a bank because someone stole his pistol.
Estelle does what she can to pay the robber’s kindness with the fireworks forward. She, the robber, and the robber’s daughters form their own chosen family in the apartment and continue to support one another until Estelle passes. The fact that Estelle stole the drawing from Jim highlights her understanding that the robber did everything for her daughters—now, she’ll have the reminder of what she’s working for on her fridge, where she can see it every day. And the unexpected positive outcome of the robber’s attempt to rob the bank is that no banks actually end up getting robbed, a small but delightful detail.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
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