Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Anxious People can help.

Lennart/The Rabbit Character Analysis

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 business. This means that in addition to doing (bad) entertainment at kids’ parties, he goes to apartment viewings and poses as, for instance, a drunk neighbor throwing food or, as in the apartment viewing in the novel’s present, a man sitting on the toilet in only his underwear and a rabbit’s head. Anna-Lena has been hiring him for about a year so that Roger can negotiate better deals on the apartments they flip. However, Lennart is more of a romantic than his side business might suggest. He tells Zara that he’s honestly rooting for Anna-Lena and Roger, and he notes that there’s a lot of love in the world, as evidenced by how many apartments aren’t for sale. Lennart is immediately taken with Zara, and the novel implies that the two begin a romantic relationship in the months after the hostage drama.

Lennart/The Rabbit Quotes in Anxious People

The Anxious People quotes below are all either spoken by Lennart/The Rabbit or refer to Lennart/The Rabbit. 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 1  Quotes

Sometimes it hurts, it really hurts, for no other reason than the fact that our skin doesn’t feel like it’s ours. Sometimes we panic, because the bills need paying and we have to be grown-up and we don’t know how, because it’s so horribly, desperately easy to fail at being grown-up.

Because everyone loves someone, and anyone who loves someone has had those desperate nights where we lie awake trying to figure out how we can afford to carry on being human beings. Sometimes that makes us do things that seem ridiculous in hindsight, but which felt like the only way out at the time.

One single really bad idea. That’s all it takes.

Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

“Do you mean to say that…but…what about all my negotiations with the Realtor? All my tactics?”

Anna-Lena couldn’t meet his gaze.

“You get so upset when you lose a bid. I just wanted you to…win.”

She wasn’t telling the whole truth. That she had become the sort of person who just wanted a home. That she wanted to stop now. That she’d like to go to the movies occasionally and see something made-up instead of yet another documentary on television. That she didn’t want to be a shark. She was worried that the betrayal would be too much for Roger.

Related Characters: Roger (speaker), Anna-Lena (speaker), Lennart/The Rabbit
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:

“Stockholm” is, after all, an expression more than it is a place, both for men like Roger and for most of the rest of us, just a symbolic word to denote all the irritating people who get in the way of our happiness. People who think they’re better than us. Bankers who say no when we apply for a loan, psychologists who ask questions when we only want sleeping pills, old men who steal the apartments we want to renovate, rabbits who steal our wives. Everyone who doesn’t see us, doesn’t understand us, doesn’t care about us.

Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 40 Quotes

“I just wish Roger could feel important again.”

Julia didn’t seem to follow the logic.

“Grandchildren would make him feel important?”

Anna-Lena smiled weakly.

“Have you ever held a three-year-old by the hand on the way home from preschool?”

“No.”

“You’re never more important than you are then.”

Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 53 Quotes

“Apartments aren’t supposed to be investments,” Zara replied gloomily.

“What are they supposed to be, then?”

“Homes.”

“Are you some sort of communist?” the rabbit chuckled.

Zara felt like punching him on the nose for that, but instead she pointed between his ears and said: “When the financial crisis hit ten years ago, a man jumped off that bridge because of a property market crash on the other side of the world. Innocent people lost their jobs and the guilty were given bonuses. You know why?”

“Now you’re exaggerat—”

“Because people like you don’t care about the balance in the system.”

Related Characters: Zara/The Woman (speaker), Lennart/The Rabbit (speaker), The Man on the Bridge
Related Symbols: The Bridge
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

She was no longer talking to Lennart, but exactly who she was talking to probably wasn’t clear even to her, but it felt like she’d been waiting ten years to yell at someone. Anyone at all. Herself most of all. So she roared: “People like you and me are the problem, don’t you get that? We always defend ourselves by saying we’re only offering a service. That we’re just one tiny part of the market. That everything is people’s own fault. That they’re greedy, that they shouldn’t have given us their money. And then we have the nerve to wonder why stock markets crash and the city is full of rats…”

Related Characters: Zara/The Woman (speaker), Lennart/The Rabbit (speaker), The Man on the Bridge
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 61 Quotes

“Yes, let’s have something to eat. This has all turned out to be rather pleasant, hasn’t it, getting to know each other like this? And that’s all thanks to you!” Estelle beamed.

“I’m sure the police won’t shoot you. Not much, anyway,” Anna-Lena said comfortingly.

“Why don’t we all go outside with you? They won’t fire if we all leave at the same time!” Julia insisted.

“There must be a way out, if it’s possible to sneak into a viewing, then it must be possible to sneak out,” Lennart pointed out.

“Let’s all sit down and make a plan!” Roger demanded.

Related Characters: Estelle (speaker), Anna-Lena (speaker), Julia (speaker), Lennart/The Rabbit (speaker), Roger (speaker), The Bank Robber
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 65 Quotes

Because it wasn’t Lennart who opened the door when Jim showed up with the pizzas. It was the bank robber, the real bank robber. Both Roger and Lennart had insisted on being allowed to wear the ski mask, but after a long pause she had said no. She had looked at them, her voice gentle with appreciation, and then given them a determined nod.

“Obviously I can’t set a good example to my daughters and teach them not to do idiotic things now. But I might at least be able to show them how you take responsibility for your actions.”

Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 66 Quotes

“Sometimes I think that when you live together for a very long time, and have children together, life is a bit like climbing trees. Up and down, up and down, you try to cope with everything, be good, you climb and climb and climb, and you hardly ever see each other along the way. You don’t notice that when you’re young, but everything changes when you have children, and sometimes it feels like you hardly ever see the person you married anymore. You’re parents and teammates, first and foremost, and being married slips down the list of priorities. But you…well, you keep climbing trees, and see each other along the way.”

Related Characters: Anna-Lena (speaker), The Bank Robber, Roger, Julia, Ro, Lennart/The Rabbit, Estelle
Page Number: 300-301
Explanation and Analysis:

“This isn’t just an apartment, it’s my home, I don’t want to hand it over to someone who’s just going to be passing through, to make money from it. I want someone who’s going to love living here, like I have. Maybe that’s hard for a young person to understand.”

That wasn’t true. There wasn’t a single person in the apartment who didn’t understand perfectly.

Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 70 Quotes

The man who sent it to her ten years ago wrote down everything he thought she needed to know. It was the last thing he ever told anyone. Only four words in length, no more than that. The four biggest little words one person, anyone at all, can say to another:

It wasn’t your fault.

By the time the letter hits the water Zara is already walking away, toward the far side of the bridge. There’s a car parked there, waiting for her. Lennart is inside it. Their eyes meet when she opens the door. He lets her put the music on as loud as she wants. She’s planning to do her utmost to get tired of him.

Related Characters: The Man on the Bridge (speaker), Zara/The Woman, Lennart/The Rabbit
Related Symbols: The Bridge, Zara’s Letter
Page Number: 322-323
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Anxious People LitChart as a printable PDF.
Anxious People PDF

Lennart/The Rabbit Character Timeline in Anxious People

The timeline below shows where the character Lennart/The Rabbit appears in Anxious People. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 25
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...Zara says she was there, there was the real estate agent, two couples, and the rabbit. But she’s certain nobody helped the robber, since they were all idiots. Jim then asks... (full context)
Chapter 29
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
...Everything is her fault. She wants a home, and she shouldn’t have paid for the rabbit. (full context)
Chapter 32
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...robber tugs at the bathroom door—and that’s how this turns into a story about a rabbit. (full context)
Chapter 33
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...Anna-Lena were arguing too, but it wasn’t cute. Roger and Anna-Lena were arguing about the rabbit, which is a long story. They were arguing about how bankers and Stockholmers were manipulating... (full context)
Chapter 36
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...When the door opens, it reveals a middle-aged man dressed in underwear, socks, and a rabbit head. He says he’s just doing his job. The man is clearly a real Stockholmer,... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
When Anna-Lena can’t answer, Roger lurches for Lennart. Ro and Julia hold him back. This upsets Anna-Lena. Retirement hasn’t been easy for Roger,... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
...now, she’s saying that Roger was never supposed to find out. She says she and Lennart met on the internet and it “just happened.” Roger asks the bank robber how much... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Anna-Lena reveals that things between her and Lennart have been going on for a year, and it’s all been for Roger’s sake. Lennart... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Roger paces, kicks the baseboards, and then rushes Lennart and knocks him to the ground. Julia helps Lennart up and tells him to get... (full context)
Chapter 37
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
...tries to get the conversation back on track. But Roger says that people like the rabbit are manipulating the market and that everything is fake—even his former employers were pretending. Roger... (full context)
Chapter 38
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...knows exactly what she means. He feels useless and impotent since finding out about the rabbit. Quietly, he says Ro and Julia should buy the apartment, which is in fine shape... (full context)
Chapter 43
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...writes a new note since the original one is now wet, and he gruffly orders Lennart a capricciosa, though Lennart is a vegetarian. Then, he ties the pizza order to a... (full context)
Chapter 45
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...the difference between a chaise lounge and a divan. Julia says that they all—Estelle, Zara, Lennart, Anna-Lena, Roger, Ro, and herself—were in the apartment when they ate pizza. The real estate... (full context)
Chapter 53
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
...The music drowns out everything in her head, and it’s so loud she doesn’t hear Lennart (who’s still in his underwear and the rabbit head) step out and tap her headphone.... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Zara is used to seeing through people, not having them see through her—and Lennart’s comment enrages her. But instead of saying something mean, she asks if Lennart is cold.... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Lennart chuckles, tells Zara to calm down, and says the financial crisis was the banks’ fault.... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
By now, Lennart is laughing, and he tells Zara that she wins. Quietly, she points out that Anna-Lena... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
After a minute, Lennart says that Anna-Lena is one of his favorite clients. She just wants to make Roger... (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 of Venice or... (full context)
Chapter 58
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...rest of the hostages. Just as Julia gets up to go tell Ro the plan, Lennart knocks on the door and explains that he needs to borrow a pair of pants;... (full context)
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Lennart joins the women in the closet, where Estelle is now smoking. Anna-Lena gives Estelle a... (full context)
Chapter 61
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...years, but it’s just the right size for a small, scared real estate agent. When Lennart sticks his head into the vent, his rabbit head gets stuck and comes off. Lennart... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Lennart comes out of the closet, dressed, just as Zara comes in from the balcony. To... (full context)
Chapter 62
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
...is a great idea: the police will assume a man tried to rob the bank. Lennart offers to open the door, since he’s an actor. Roger and Lennart argue over who... (full context)
Chapter 64
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...hostages, who are shown out the back of the police station. On the stairs, Zara, Lennart, Anna-Lena, Roger, Julia, Ro, and the real estate agent stare at one other. Roger asks... (full context)
Chapter 65
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...just a really good liar. So, stepping back more to his meeting with the robber, Lennart doesn’t open the door when Jim knocks on the door. The bank robber does, after... (full context)
Chapter 66
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication 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... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Several loud bangs break the ensuing silence, and Lennart exclaims that there are fireworks going off outside. Jim is setting them off by the... (full context)
Chapter 68
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
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... (full context)
Chapter 70
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...your fault.” Zara is walking away before the letter hits the water. She climbs into Lennart’s car, and he lets her play the music loud. Zara plans to try to get... (full context)