“I loved this book so much that I truly didn’t want it to end. Backman writes stories that are full of heart yet gritty and real enough that they don’t veer into cloying sentimentality. He is a master craftsman, weaving subtle details into a beautifully told, captivating masterpiece. Beartown, on the edge of nowhere, is in an economic decline, with only the town’s hockey team giving its residents hope for the future and a sense of belonging. When that future is threatened, Beartown’s residents are forced to show what they really stand for. If you like John Irving, if you love Richard Russo, if you want a novel that is just plain wonderful, read Beartown!”
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books (Okemos), Okemos, MI
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: LibraryReads • BookBrowse • Goodreads
“You’ll love this engrossing novel.” —People
The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
PRAISE FOR BEARTOWN
“Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic. . . There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor. . .Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it's part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction. A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman's latest will resonate a long time.”
“Lest readers think hockey is the star here, it’s Backman’s rich characters that steal the show, and his deft handling of tragedy and its effects on an insular town. While the story is dark at times, love, sacrifice, and the bonds of friendship and family shine through ultimately offering hope and even redemption.”
“The sentimentally savvy Backman...takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town and young people.”
"[A] slow burn of a novel about a community that pours all its hopes into a youth hockey team. Think Friday Night Lights for Swedes."
"As popular Swedish exports go, Backman is up there with Abba and Stieg Larssson."
"Backman is the Dickens of our age, and though you'll cry, your heart is safe in his hands."
“There are, in the end, real acts of bravery and sacrifice in this appealing novel.”
“Mr. Backman cements his standing as a writer of astonishing depth and proves that he also has very broad range plus the remarkable ability to make you understand the feelings of each of a dozen different characters. . . . The story is fully packed with wise insights into the human experience causing characters and readers to ponder life’s great question of who we are, what we hope to be and how we should lead our lives.”
“This novel was well worth reading, and I embrace what I learned from it.”
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