Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Moments after the young policeman returns to the interview room and begins to pull out a crumpled sheet of paper to show the real estate agent, the older policeman shuffles into the room. The older officer offers his help, but the younger officer snaps that this is so unprofessional. The Realtor, perking up, introduces herself to the older officer, saying that she’s from the “HOUSE TRICKS Real Estate Agency, HOW’S TRICKS?” Sharply, the younger officer tells the agent to sit down. The older officer asks if the younger one has shown her the drawing or asked about the pistol, and the agent pipes up that the gun wasn’t real.
This passage reveals that the older officer doesn’t just not know what to say. He also doesn’t know how to respect the younger officer’s authority and give him the space to conduct the interview. The younger officer’s frustration with his colleague’s behavior, in turn, leads to him being even shorter with the Realtor than he was previously. The Realtor continues to read as out of touch, as though she’s possibly not taking this seriously.
Themes
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Surprised, the older policeman observes the younger policeman hasn’t told the real estate agent yet. The younger officer begins to explain, but the older officer interjects: the bank robber shot himself. The Realtor’s mouth goes dry as she whispers that everyone could’ve died. The older officer suggests they start the interview again and takes the young man’s notes, while the young man goes to the hallway to hit his head against the wall. The older officer wishes he knew what to say. This is exactly why he didn’t want his son to be a police officer.
Revealing that the officers are related explains some of the conflict between them: boundaries become blurry, and as the two officers demonstrate, working with family can create more strife. However, it’s also worth considering that because the young officer is the older officer’s son, the older officer might have good reasons readers aren’t yet privy to about why he thinks his son shouldn’t be an officer. Indeed, in this passage, it seems like the older officer is trying to protect his son from emotional pain. 
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon