Anxious People

Anxious People


Fredrik Backman

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Themes and Colors
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Anxious People, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Parenting and Fear

Anxious People tells the story of a bank robbery gone awry—the robber flees the bank and ends up taking nine people at an apartment viewing hostage. However, the robber’s reason for trying to rob a bank isn’t selfish or attention seeking. Rather, the robber is in the middle of a nasty divorce and has fallen on hard times, and she fears that if she doesn’t come up with enough money to pay her rent, a…

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Marriage, Conflict, and Communication

Many of the characters in Anxious People are married (or, in the bank robber’s case, are in the process of getting a divorce). As such, Anxious People shows a variety of marriages in many different stages—and degrees of health. Overwhelmingly, Anxious People shows that marriage requires hard work, sacrifice, and most importantly, a willingness from both parties to communicate openly and honestly. None of the couples in the novel are able to do this…

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Mental Health and Connection

Anxious People deals closely with issues of mental health and suicide. Several characters witnessed or were otherwise involved when, 10 years before the novel begins, a man died by suicide by jumping off a bridge. One of those people, a young teen named Nadia, almost jumped off the bridge a week after the man did—but Jack, who later becomes a policeman, pulls her off the ledge. This inspires Nadia, in her adult…

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The Modern World

As Anxious People considers its characters’ mental health, their thoughts on parenting, and their marriages, the novel overwhelmingly ties these issues to the modern world. The narrator insists that in today’s fast-paced world, who doesn’t sometimes feel alone, behind, and afraid? Being human is hard enough in any situation, but Anxious People proposes that for all the good things that have come out of modernity, modernity still makes life more stressful than it perhaps needs…

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Nearly every character in Anxious People makes assumptions about other people. Most everyone assumes that Zara, a wealthy older woman, couldn’t possibly be interested in buying the apartment she’s looking at. And Jim and Jack, the police officers tasked with handling the hostage drama, assume for much of the novel that they’re dealing with a dangerous and armed male bank robber. In some cases, people’s assumptions are correct; Zara, for instance, truly…

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