Fredrik Backman

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Maya Andersson

Maya is the daughter of Peter and Kira Andersson and the older sister of Leo. She is 15 years old. Maya is a talented musician whose first love is playing the guitar, and she… read analysis of Maya Andersson

Kevin Erdahl

Kevin is 17 years old, the most talented hockey player Beartown has seen in decades. In fact, the hockey club wants to promote Kevin to the professional A-team already, and he’s had offers from bigger… read analysis of Kevin Erdahl

Peter Andersson

Peter is Kira’s husband and the father of Isak, Maya, and Leo. He is the General Manager of Beartown’s hockey club. Peter was Beartown’s most talented hockey player before Kevin Erdahlread analysis of Peter Andersson

Kira Andersson

Kira is Peter’s wife and the mother of Isak, Maya, and Leo. Kira has a forceful personality and is a fighter, both at her law practice and on behalf of her… read analysis of Kira Andersson


Amat is almost 16. He has always been small for his age. He isn’t as strong as other hockey players, but he’s one of the fastest skaters anyone has ever seen. Besides being athletically talented… read analysis of Amat
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Benjamin Ovich (Benji)

17 years old, Benji is one of the mainstays of the junior hockey team, known especially for his fierce fighting and reliable defense of Kevin on the ice. Kevin is also Benji’s best friend. Benji… read analysis of Benjamin Ovich (Benji)


David, the coach of Beartown’s junior team, is 32, with unruly red hair. Hockey is all he’s ever cared about, and he is obsessive about it. Sune mentored him as a young coach, but David… read analysis of David


Sune is around 70 years old and coaches Beartown’s professional team. He has been a mentor and father figure to generations of Beartown hockey players, including Peter and David. A quiet, reflective man, he… read analysis of Sune


Fatima is Amat’s mother; her husband died in a war before Amat was born, and she and her son emigrated to Sweden from an unnamed country when Amat was a baby. Although she’s barely… read analysis of Fatima

Mr. Erdahl/Kevin’s dad

Mr. Erdahl is Kevin’s father. Having grown up poor, he is relentless in the pursuit of success and perfection and demands the same of Kevin. He is one of the hockey club’s biggest financial… read analysis of Mr. Erdahl/Kevin’s dad

Mrs. Erdahl/Kevin’s mom

Mrs. Erdahl is Kevin’s quiet, reserved mother. She runs a large company, where she’s seen as approachable and sympathetic, but she struggles to talk to her son, even as she longs for a closer… read analysis of Mrs. Erdahl/Kevin’s mom


Ana and Maya became best friends after Ana pulled Maya out of a hole in the ice when they were six years old. Ana is “a child of nature who went hunting and fishing but… read analysis of Ana


Bobo is the son of Hog and Ann-Katrin. He plays on the junior hockey team. An enormous, lumbering player, he repeatedly flattens Amat during Amat’s first junior practice, but he soon grows sympathetic, and… read analysis of Bobo

William Lyt

Lyt is a prominent member of the junior hockey team. He is Maggan’s son. Lyt longs for Kevin’s approval and friendship and basks in the attention that association with Kevin brings. After Kevin… read analysis of William Lyt


Along with Lifa, Zacharias, 15, is one of Amat’s best friends. Like them, he lives in the underprivileged Hollow of Beartown, and they have hung out together since they were children. Zach prefers… read analysis of Zacharias


Elderly Ramona runs the Bearskin pub in Beartown and is a beloved local character. Ramona drinks heavily, especially since the death of her husband, Holger, more than ten years ago; she has barely left… read analysis of Ramona


Tails—so nicknamed because of his fondness for wearing fancy suits as a young man—is an owner of a large supermarket chain. He and Peter played hockey together as kids, and he is a staunch supporter… read analysis of Tails

Club President

The president of the Beartown hockey club is a rather nervous figure who’s constantly trying to keep the various club stakeholders happy, while ensuring that hockey solves its own problems without outside interference. One of… read analysis of Club President

Leo Andersson

Leo is Peter’s and Kira’s 12-year-old son, and Maya’s brother. Leo doesn’t have a large role in the story, but he is devoted to his older sister and staunchly supports her after… read analysis of Leo Andersson

The Pack

The Pack is a group of about 30 or 40 angry young men who feel they’ve been abandoned by the local economy. They are sometimes violent hockey fans, intimidating rivals. The members spend much of… read analysis of The Pack

Robbie Holts

Robbie is an unemployed, alcoholic man in his 40s who was once believed to be a more promising hockey player than Peter Andersson. However, he advanced to the professional team too early and couldn’t… read analysis of Robbie Holts

The bass player

Benji meets the bass player at The Barn, the bar in Hed where his sister Katia works. The bass player joined a band in Hed temporarily, having just gotten out of a bad relationship. He… read analysis of The bass player
Minor Characters
Along with Zacharias, Lifa, 15, is one of Amat’s best friends. He rarely talks much. He quit playing hockey when he was younger because he couldn’t handle the locker-room banter.
Isak Andersson
Son of Peter and Kira and older brother of Maya, Isak died of an unnamed illness when he was very small, while the Anderssons were living in Canada. His death has haunted the family ever since.
Lars is Amat and Zacharias’s coach on the boys’ team; he also assists David with the junior team. His coaching technique mostly consists of constant yelling and the occasional crude joke.
Jeannette is a teacher in the high school. The hockey players in her class often speak disrespectfully to her. Jeannette is a critic of the excesses of the town’s hockey culture and is perceptive; she sees that Benji has a good heart, for instance, despite his self-destructive behavior.
Elisabeth is the wife of Tails.
Tails’s son
Tails’s son is 12. He only appears in one scene, where he insults his sister with a joke involving rape. At this, Tails ends up tackling him and tearfully telling him that he needs to become a better man.
David’s girlfriend
David’s girlfriend, who seldom appears in the story, is pregnant with their first child. She is often exasperated with his hockey obsession but accepts and supports him.
Hog is Bobo’s father. He is a car mechanic who owns a garage. He played hockey with Peter when they were boys, and they are still good friends. Hog is awkward in showing affection but is a good, loving dad.
Ann-Katrin is Hog’s wife and Bobo’s mom. She works as a nurse at the hospital in Hed and cares for Maya after the assault.
Holger was Ramona’s hockey-loving husband, a former goalie, who died of cancer 11 years ago.
Adri Ovich
Adri is Benji’s oldest sister, who runs a dog kennel in the forest. She helps start a girls’ hockey team with Sune.
Katia Ovich
Katia is Benji’s second-oldest sister. She works at The Barn, a bar in Hed.
Gaby Ovich
Gaby is Benji’s youngest older sister, whose two children Benji adores.
Alan Ovich
Alan was Benji’s father, who committed suicide in the forest when Benji was a little boy. Benji routinely visits his grave in the cemetery, though his mom has never forgiven her late husband.
Benji’s mom
Benji’s mom is a widow, her husband Alan having committed suicide years ago. She’s never forgiven him for this. She is also the mother of Adri, Katia, and Gaby. She doesn’t appear much in the story, but is a quiet, loving, concerned presence in Benji’s life.
Maggan Lyt
Maggan is hockey player William Lyt’s mother. She is an outspoken, opinionated supporter of the team and is among the loudest spectators at games. She is also one of the loudest accusers of Maya after the rape.
The caretaker
The caretaker is a kindly, elderly hockey rink employee. Amat helps him with heavier chores in exchange for extra ice time.
Filip is the smallest player on the junior team.
Filip’s mom
Filip’s mother is also best friends with Maggan Lyt, though she is much quieter and more restrained. She trained as an elite skier in her youth.
Ana’s dad
Ana’s father is divorced, and he and Ana have a mostly silent relationship. However, he taught Ana to hunt in the forest when she was a little girl, and he still sometimes takes her along on hunting trips.