Anxious People

Anxious People


Fredrik Backman

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The Bank Robber

The bank robber is a 39-year-old woman who, after trying and failing to rob a cashless bank, takes nine people at an apartment viewing hostage. However, she’s a sympathetic character: she’s going through a nasty… read analysis of The Bank Robber

Zara/The Woman

Zara is an extremely wealthy woman in her mid-late 50s who runs a bank. Ten years ago, she denied a man a loan, and this contributed to the man’s choice to jump off a bridgeread analysis of Zara/The Woman

Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl

Nadia is a psychologist whom Zara sees. As a teenager, she also tried to die by suicide by jumping off the same bridge as the man—but Jack pulled her off the edge. This experience… read analysis of Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl


Anna-Lena is Roger’s wife; they plan to buy the apartment as an investment property. Initially, Anna-Lena reads as subordinate and deferential: she’s not used to anyone (not least Roger) listening to her, so she… read analysis of Anna-Lena


Roger is a retired engineer who, along with his wife Anna-Lena, plans to buy the apartment as an investment property. Though Roger comes off as an entitled person, the novel reveals he’s actually very… read analysis of Roger
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Julia is Ro’s wife and one of the prospective buyers of the apartment. She’s heavily pregnant and is constantly fighting with Ro. Some of this has to do with the fact that Julia’s pregnancy… read analysis of Julia


Ro is Julia’s wife and one of the people viewing the apartment for sale. Though Ro is nonwhite and was born outside of Sweden, her birthplace is never specified. A very anxious person, Ro… read analysis of Ro

Lennart/The Rabbit

Lennart is a middle-aged actor who also runs a side business called No Boundaries Lennart, LTD. In addition to performing in local productions of Shakespeare plays, Lennart works as a “professional interrupter” for his side… read analysis of Lennart/The Rabbit


Estelle is a woman in her late 90s who, unbeknownst to the other apartment viewers until the end of the hostage drama, actually lives in the apartment for sale. A widow who lost her husband… read analysis of Estelle

The Real Estate Agent/The Realtor

The real estate agent is selling both Estelle’s apartment and the apartment across the landing. She works for the House Tricks Real Estate Agency, whose tagline is “HOW’S TRICKS?” The narrator makes it clear… read analysis of The Real Estate Agent/The Realtor

Jack/The Young Policeman/The Boy

Jack is the younger policeman on the scene of the hostage drama. He works with his dad, Jim, and the two don’t get along well: Jack is efficient and believes in doing his job… read analysis of Jack/The Young Policeman/The Boy

Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman

Jim is the senior policeman on the scene of the hostage drama. He works with his son, Jack, and though Jim loves his son, the two seldom get along. Unlike Jack, Jim thinks computers… read analysis of Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman

Jack’s Mom/Jim’s Wife

Jack’s mom and Jim’s wife is deceased in the novel’s present, and her death looms large over both her son and husband. In life, she worked as a priest and picked fights with… read analysis of Jack’s Mom/Jim’s Wife

Jack’s Sister

Jack’s sister and Jim’s daughter is seven years older than Jack. She never appears in person in the novel, as she’s addicted to heroin and lives almost a 24-hour drive away from the… read analysis of Jack’s Sister

The Man on the Bridge

Ten years before the novel begins, the man died by suicide by jumping off a bridge. He’d put all his money into investments, and when the housing market crashed in the United States, he… read analysis of The Man on the Bridge

The Monkey and the Frog/The Robber’s Daughters

The robber’s daughters are six and eight years old, and they adore their mother. Their nicknames, the monkey and the frog, came from how they moved when the robber was pregnant with them, and… read analysis of The Monkey and the Frog/The Robber’s Daughters

The Bank Robber’s Mom

The bank robber’s mom never appears in the novel’s present, as she died years before the novel begins. An alcoholic, the robber’s mom was a “chaotic parent.” For instance, she bought alcohol with all… read analysis of The Bank Robber’s Mom


London is the 20-year-old bank teller at the bank the robber attempts to rob. She’s deeply unhappy, lives most of her life online, and acts as though she’s about 14 years old, so she’s rude… read analysis of London

The Special Negotiator

The special negotiator is a police officer from Stockholm who is called in to manage the hostage situation. He has experience negotiating with hostages, so the bosses believe he’ll have a better chance of successfully… read analysis of The Special Negotiator


Knut is Estelle’s deceased husband. Estelle explains that they were married “forever,” and they loved making each other laugh more than anything. He also made a point to always drop Estelle off close to… read analysis of Knut

The Neighbor

The neighbor was Estelle’s lover and neighbor across the landing; he’s deceased in the novel’s present. Estelle never shares his name, but they were both avid readers and eventually, they began swapping books and… read analysis of The Neighbor
Minor Characters
Julia’s Mom
Though Julia’s mom never appears in person in the novel, Julia shares several tidbits of her mom’s advice with Estelle and Anna-Lena, such as to marry someone who’s funny.