|The Participant Observer Book of the Month is Bear Town by Fredrik Backman.”Late one evening toward the end of March, a teen-ager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger. *** This is the story of how we got there.”
So begins Beartown, a novel that surpasses even A Man Called Ove, the author’s previous international bestseller. Set in a small town in Sweden’s backwoods, it reads like a thriller, keeping the reader glued to the pages long into the night. The plot involves two very different generations: the teen-age players of the town’s hockey team and their adult fans and parents. Its appeal is thus to young adults and older adults – even seniors such as this Worldview Project reviewer. Glowing reviews from the New York Times and Washington Post are surpassed by the usually laconic words of Amazon’s critic, as follows.
“How do I love Beartown? Let me count the ways. It’s a domestic drama in which a family is pulled apart by an act of violence. It’s a coming-of-age story for a young woman who must choose to speak out or keep silent. (And a young man, too, actually.) It’s a slow-build thriller… It’s a cautionary tale of small-town thinking…yet at the same time celebrates how a handful of people can change a tight-knit community. Beartown has so much going on within its enjoyably readable pages that putting it in a literary box is all but impossible… Masterful in its storytelling and honesty, this is another winner for Backman, surpassing even his much-lauded A Man Called Ove.”—Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review