Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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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 correctly, while Jim takes a more relaxed view. Despite their fraught relationship, though, Jack has refused jobs in Stockholm in favor of sticking close to his dad. Ten years before the novel begins, teenage Jack unsuccessfully tried to talk a man out of jumping off a bridge—and a week later, he saved Nadia from doing the same thing. Saving Nadia inspired him to become a police officer; he believes his work will allow him to save people. This desire to save people motivates Jack to put his all into the hostage drama, especially after its conclusion, when it looks (to an outside observer) like the robber (whom Jack believes is male) shot himself and is injured and hiding. But when Jim reveals to Jack that he helped the robber escape, Jack demonstrates what a “good son” he is by taking responsibility for losing the robber. Later in the spring, Zara sends Jack a letter directing him to Nadia. It’s implied that Jack and Nadia fall in love once they become aware of their past connection.

Jack/The Young Policeman/The Boy Quotes in Anxious People

The Anxious People quotes below are all either spoken by Jack/The Young Policeman/The Boy or refer to Jack/The Young Policeman/The Boy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
).
Chapter 5 Quotes

So you would have tried to talk to him, gain his trust, persuade him not to do it. Because you’ve probably been depressed yourself, you’ve had days when you’ve been in terrible pain in places that don’t show up in X-rays, when you can’t find the words to explain it even to the people who love you. Deep down, […] a lot of us know that the difference between us and that man on the bridge is smaller than we might wish. Most adults have had a number of really bad moments, and of course not even fairly happy people manage to be happy the whole darn time. So you would have tried to save him. Because it’s possible to end your life by mistake, but you have to choose to jump.

Related Symbols: The Bridge
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“Do you know what the worst thing about being a parent is? That you’re always judged by your worst moments. You can do a million things right, but if you do one single thing wrong you’re forever that parent who was checking his phone in the park when your child was hit in the head by a swing. We don’t take our eyes off them for days at a time, but then you read just one text message and it’s as if all your best moments never happened. No one goes to see a psychologist to talk about the times they weren’t hit in the head by a swing as a child. Parents are defined by their mistakes.”

Related Symbols: The Bridge
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 62 Quotes

“I just said Knut was parking the car because I get lonely sometimes. And it feels better to pretend that he’s on his way. Especially at this time of year, he always used to like New Year, we used to stand at the kitchen window watching the fireworks. Well…we used to stand on the balcony for years…but I couldn’t bring myself to go out there after something that happened down on the bridge ten years ago. It’s a long story.”

Related Symbols: The Bridge
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 67 Quotes

“You’re a good police officer, son,” Jim will say, looking down at the ground. He’ll want to add but an even better person, but won’t be able to bring himself to say it.

“You’re not always such a damn good police officer, Dad,” Jack will grin up at the clouds. He’ll want to add but I’ve learned everything else from you, but the words won’t quite come out.

They’ll go home. Watch television. Have a beer together.

That’s enough.

Page Number: 312
Explanation and Analysis:
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Anxious People PDF

Jack/The Young Policeman/The Boy Character Timeline in Anxious People

The timeline below shows where the character Jack/The Young Policeman/The Boy appears in Anxious People. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...it’s the afternoon of the day before New Year’s Eve in a medium-size town. A young policeman is in an interrogation room with a real estate agent, and the questioning isn’t going... (full context)
Assumptions  Theme Icon
The young policeman asks if the day before New Year’s Eve isn’t an odd day for a showing.... (full context)
Chapter 6
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
The young policeman is massaging his forehead when the real estate agent asks how he got the huge... (full context)
Chapter 8
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
The young policeman bumps into an older policeman in the staff room. Due to their age difference, they... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Once the younger policeman leaves the staff room, the older policeman sits and sips his coffee. He’s a stereotypical... (full context)
Chapter 9
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Moments after the young policeman returns to the interview room and begins to pull out a crumpled sheet of paper... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 10
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Ten years ago, the first person the man on the bridge saw was a teenage boy. That boy ran to help, since his mom was a priest, his dad was a... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
The man continued. He told the boy he’d had a great job and then set up his savings in a real estate... (full context)
Chapter 11
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Ten years later, in the present, the young policeman stands outside the interview room, while his dad sits inside with the real estate agent.... (full context)
Chapter 12
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
...in the interview with the real estate agent, the older policeman awkwardly explains that the young policeman is his son. He adds that his wife didn’t want them to work together, as... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The narrator says that truthfully, the man on the bridge didn’t make the boy want to be a policeman. It was the teenage girl who stood on the bridge... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...the wall. The older policeman’s name is Jim, and his son, the younger officer, is Jack. They are, as usual, sitting at their desks across from each other, typing up the... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jim also has a picture of Jack’s older sister on his desk, but she never comes home for Christmas. This is the... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Now, Jim watches Jack type. Jack is clearly frustrated; he wants to prove himself to the bosses before the... (full context)
Chapter 14
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Jack begins his interview with a young woman named London by suggesting she sit in a... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Back in the present, London’s witness interview continues. Jack asks if London can tell him anything specific about the robber’s appearance, such as if... (full context)
Chapter 19
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jim and Jack are the first officers on the scene at the hostage situation, just because the town... (full context)
Chapter 21
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...really looks like Christmas lights, but to Jim, it looks like a bomb. Jim and Jack are on the street, trying to figure out how many people are in the building.... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
The bosses decide to call in backup from Stockholm, but the special negotiator who calls Jack explains that he’ll be on the road a while, since it’s the day before New... (full context)
Chapter 25
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...Jim asks where she was in the apartment during the hostage drama. He explains that Jack thinks a hostage helped the robber. It’s odd that Zara was at the viewing at... (full context)
Chapter 27
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...nothing in common with other people. Nobody notices her standing on the bridge—except for teenage Jack. He’s been visiting the bridge daily since the man jumped, and now, he races forward... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack and Nadia never see each other again after that; Nadia isn’t even sure Jack exists.... (full context)
Chapter 29
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
In Anna-Lena’s witness interview with Jack later that afternoon, she refuses to speak. She finally mentions that the robber entered the... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...looks. But he thinks she’s boring, which is why they need projects to do together. Jack asks about the other people at the viewing. Anna-Lena says that they were all looking... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Jack tries to get the interview back on track, but Anna-Lena says that Roger doesn’t want... (full context)
Chapter 35
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack is interviewing Roger at the police station. After arguing about Roger’s bleeding nose and why... (full context)
Chapter 36
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...his job. The man is clearly a real Stockholmer, not an idiot like Jim and Jack mean when they use “Stockholmer,” or gay like Estelle means when she says “Stockholmer.” He... (full context)
Chapter 37
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Back in his interview with Roger, Jack tries to get the conversation back on track. But Roger says that people like the... (full context)
Chapter 39
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
At the police station, Jim is getting coffee when Jack races in and says the robber is hiding in the wall. They return to the... (full context)
Chapter 42
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Later in the afternoon, Jack and Jim are digging through the closet without success. They find a collection of empty... (full context)
Chapter 43
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...need medical supplies—and won’t stop talking long enough to listen to Roger say they’re hungry. Jack shouts for Jim to be quiet, but Roger swears and goes back inside. He pulls... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...the pizza order to a lime and tosses it to the police; the lime hits Jack in the forehead. (full context)
Chapter 44
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack tries to shimmy into the vent, but he gets stuck, and Jim has to pull... (full context)
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim and Jack search the apartment again, “Staring at everything but still seeing nothing.” Studying the small table... (full context)
Chapter 45
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
In Jack’s witness interview with Julia and Ro, the women insist on doing their interview together. Julia... (full context)
Chapter 46
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...where there isn’t a bloody signal” to send into the apartment for the robber. Now, Jack asks Jim if Jim actually turned the phone’s ringtone on, or if he left it... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack and Jim sink onto the couch and Jack calls himself an idiot. He asks Jim... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jack and Jim have been on their own since then. They still send Jack’s sister money... (full context)
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Back in the present, Jim asks Jack to explain. Jack notes that there were supposedly nine people in the apartment, but the... (full context)
Chapter 48
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack leaps out of the police car and races into the interview room, ignoring Jim’s attempts... (full context)
Chapter 49
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
It’s idiotic of Jack to not have realized everything from the start. Maybe it’s his mom’s fault, in that... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
All this to say, when Jack and Jim are standing out on the street waiting for the negotiator from Stockholm, they’re... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack asks what they do if the robber won’t open the door or take the phone—the... (full context)
Chapter 52
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Back in the hostage drama, Jack wants to contact the bank robber in any way that doesn’t involve Jim going up... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Then, Jack asks if the negotiator has been involved in a hostage situation before. The negotiator says... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
As Jack heads back downstairs, the negotiator asks why Jack turned down the job offer in Stockholm.... (full context)
Chapter 53
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
When Jack sees Zara, she’s just stepped onto the balcony after telling the robber not to do... (full context)
Chapter 55
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
In Jack’s interview with Lennart, they argue about whether Lennart was in a production of The Merchant... (full context)
Chapter 57
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Before Jack entered the building across the street, he told Jim to wait. But Jim, of course,... (full context)
Chapter 59
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Back at the police station, Jack is shouting at the real estate agent to tell him why she asked for fireworks... (full context)
Chapter 60
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Stepping back to when Jack gets downstairs after speaking with the negotiator, Jim is emerging from the other building. Jim... (full context)
Chapter 62
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...The apartment door opens, and Jim is outside. He goes back downstairs later and tells Jack he spoke with the robber. (full context)
Chapter 63
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Jack storms out of the interview room, leaving Jim with the real estate agent. Jim passes... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim joins Jack in the hallway. Jack says the real estate agent must be the robber. Jim says... (full context)
Chapter 65
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Stepping back in time to earlier in the day, Jim comes downstairs and tells Jack about his conversation with the bank robber. But he doesn’t mess up the story because... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...still plant an apple tree today. Jim tells the robber to get going; his son Jack, who’s also a police officer, will be the first through the door. He also says... (full context)
Chapter 66
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Chapter 67
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Now, in the present, Jim has told Jack the truth. Because Jack is a good son, he works on coming up with a... (full context)
Chapter 69
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...man wrote and then stop her from jumping. Zara wants to tell Nadia about witnessing Jack save her, but she can’t. Nadia wants to hug Zara, but instead, she opens the... (full context)
Chapter 72
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...bouncing and trying to climb her—they haven’t seen the police car yet with Jim and Jack inside. Silently, the robber begs them to not do this in front of her daughters.... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Jim says he gets it if Jack wants to arrest the bank robber, but Jack says he just wanted to see her... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack asks if Jim wants coffee: he thought they could drive to see his sister. It’ll... (full context)
Chapter 73
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
It’s now spring, and Jack gets out of an elevator, very confused. Earlier, he got a letter with this address,... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jack knocks on the office door. It’s been 10 years since a man jumped and a... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Nadia loses her balance and Jack catches her. She asks if he’s the one who saved her and then sinks into... (full context)