Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Book Review | THE WINNERS by Fredrik Backman

by Fredrik Backman
Publication: September 27, 2022
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction / Literary
Rating: ★★★★★

     It starts with a storm. A death. A birth. And two funerals on the same day.

   One person's life is being celebrated by the entire town. Another person's life has been forgotten by the entire town.

  Over the next week, the age-old rivalry between Beartown and neighboring town Hed, dormant for the last two years, is reignited. Unlikely alliances are formed, enemies work together to try to save the hockey club, and a new player arrives who shakes up the team.

   The epic final installment of Fredrik Backman's magnificent trilogy, THE WINNERS is a powerful, suspenseful, and deeply loving conclusion to the story of this small hockey town and the bighearted people who call it home.


Obviously, I am a huge Fredrik Backman fan. I like how his books talk about  groups of people and how their lives intertwine, whether circumstances or coincidence brought them together. And the idea of an old man, a cleaner, an orphan, or a burglar can turn peoples’ lives around is both clever and insightful.

The Beartown Trilogy is probably the most profound and complex community life Backman has created. Neighbors, Beartown and Hed, are hockey towns in every sense. Their lives literally revolve around this sport. It brings out the best and worst in them. And in the concluding novel, THE WINNERS, Backman draws tragedy, rivalry, friendship, politics, and the sense of belongingness into a map. There’s no inch, in either towns, that is not impacted by the sweeping events. Some tried to move away, only to find out that hockey cannot simply be shed. Some people who moved in, believed they are apart from it, found themselves at the midst of the game. However, for most players, it is the very air they breathe. It is life itself. There are resentments, conflicts, and intrigue, but, compassion, compromise, and accountability were present as well. And that is how Beartown raised a child, with ice beneath her feet and the limitless sky above her.

My anticipation for pain was in max throughout the book, and the bittersweet feeling never left me after reading either. Although, in my head I can still hear a puck hitting a wall, a guitar playing softly, and a beautiful boy is sitting up a tree facing the wind. I know life continues in that forest town.

Last Sunday, I asked the clerk at Indigo if I could stand at the entry way and offer each entering customer a copy of this book. That’s how much I recommend this book… this trilogy.


About the Author:

Photograph © LinnĂ©a Jonasson
Bernholm/Appendix fotografi

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, and Anxious People, as well as two novellas and one work of nonfiction. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter @BackmanLand and on Instagram @Backmansk.

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for the printed ARC in exchange for this unbiased review.


Post a Comment