Fredrik Backman is a Swedish author, journalist, and blogger. He debuted with “A Man Called Ove,” which became a huge hit and was internationally acclaimed. Originally written in Swedish, his novels were translated into many languages internationally. His stories mostly center on the complexities of human relationships with a blend of humor and observations in the day-to-day life around us. Some of his books have been remade into movies and series. Here is a list of his best books:
Best Fredrik Backman Books To Read!
1. Anxious People
The story begins with a hostage situation in an apartment viewing. The backstory reveals that a robber entered a bank with the idea of robbing six thousand five hundred Kronor. London, a girl behind the counter, initially mocked the robber, stating that the bank was cashless, eventually leading the robber to run away from the bank. The robber then enters an apartment viewing. Due to the robber’s costume and gun, everyone starts panicking. The robber is harmless and doesn’t want to kill anyone, changing the entire thing into a hostage situation. The hostages are:
- Zara – A woman who runs a bank and is visiting a psychologist named Nadia
- Anna-Lena and Roger – An elderly couple who want to renovate and sell flats
- Julia and Ro – A young couple who are looking for an apartment as Julia is pregnant
- Estelle – A woman in her 90s with a husband called Knut
- Lennart – Hired by Anna-Lena, he is a middle-aged actor, also called a professional disrupter
The bank robber’s story is revealed, where the robber suffered an infidelity, and divorce followed by a job loss, all at once. The robber had two girls to look after, forcing the person to opt for robbery. There is also a parallel storyline in the past, where a man loses all his money in a financial crisis. Though it was the bank’s fault, a woman tells him it was his fault as he chose to be fooled. He then jumps from the top of a bridge and dies.
What happened later? Did the robber get caught? This story is a complete package of how people with various backgrounds meet under harsh circumstances yet try their best to be there for one another. One of the best things about the story is that the robber’s gender is not revealed till the end, making the read even more enjoyable. You can get the book here! 📖
2. Britt-Marie Was Here
Britt Marie, a character who was a neighbor in Backman’s previous novel, “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” is the titular character in this book. The story properly introduces Britt Marie, a lady in her sixties and actively looking for a job. Through her conversations in the employment office, it is eventually revealed that she was married to Kent, who had two children and was a full-time homemaker. After her husband’s infidelity, she divorces him.
She also has borderline OCD, which she developed due to her traumatic childhood, where her parents ignored her. For over 40 years, she has spent her time tidying and organizing the house, making lists, shopping, and caring for the plants. She eventually lands at Borg, an economically depressed place with limited resources. There, she gets a job at a recreation centre responsible for a group of children. She then meets Sven, a policeman smitten by Britt Marie and Sami with their brothers Vega and Omi, Ben, Bank, and Somebody.
She starts football coaching in the place without even having proper experience. Amidst all this, Kent again comes to her. What happens later? What was she destined to do? This story is a simple and sweet read emphasizing the importance of improving communities, helping people, and serving people in need. The book also talks about the aftermath of the economic crisis and how places and families suffer, even after the crisis has ended. You can get the book here! 📖
3. Things My Son Needs to Know about the World
“Have kids”, they said. “It will be fun,” they said. These two lines are more than enough to summarize the entire thought process behind writing this book. This book, written by a father to his son as a monologue, offers a funny perspective on parenting. The difficulties that parents face daily—from observing the color and consistency of a newborn’s poop to the difficulty of changing a baby’s outfit—are addressed with a pinch of humor. Apart from covering the amusing aspects of parenthood, such as sleep troubles, the book also takes a strong stance on matters such as feminism, women’s strength, equality, etc.
As they say, parenthood can be enjoyable, but it is also equally exhausting. If you are a new parent or a parent of a toddler, this book is a must-read. She starts football coaching in the place without even having proper experience. Amidst all this, Kent again comes to her. What happens later? What was she destined to do? This story is a simple and sweet read emphasizing the importance of improving communities, helping people, and serving people in need. The book also talks about the aftermath of the economic crisis and how places and families suffer, even after the crisis has ended. You can get the book here! 📖
4. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
Seven-year-old Elsa has a strong bond with her Grandmother. Her mother is expecting a baby, whom Elsa refers to as Halfsie. Her only source of support is her Grandmother because her mother and father are divorced. Granny is an eccentric and adventurous individual who fills Elsa’s head with imaginative tales of Land-of-the-most-awake and many other kingdoms. She feels content with the world she and Granny have built together. Granny was a doctor. She and her daughter, aka Elsa’s mother, had typical teenage problems that somehow distanced them.
So Granny’s second chance was Elsa, and she spent all her energy towards making her strong. Granny has had Cancer, and she dies one day, leaving Elsa with the task of delivering letters written by Granny that contain a message and an apology to the people in the apartment. Did Elsa deliver the letters? This story beautifully illustrates how interwoven people’s lives are and how empathy and forgiveness can heal old wounds and reshape relationships. You can get the book here! 📖
5. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease form the central aspect of the novel. The novel explores the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson, where the grandfather suffers from the last stages of Dementia while his grandson is striving hard to cope with him. The book also addresses the communication barriers when talking with such people while exploring the harsh reality of living with fragmented thoughts. The novel tells us to cherish the present and share good moments with our loved ones as much as possible. You can get the book here! 📖
This series has three novels centered around a fictional place called Beartown.
- Us Against You
- The Winners
The book opens up with a teenager pointing a gun at another teenager’s head, narrating the events that led to this situation. Beartown is a depressed town whose fortune has been in a continuous decline. The town now wholly depends on the Hockey match, as it can attract investors, promising an economic uplift for the place. Peter is the General Manager of the hockey club and has a son, Leo, and a daughter, Maya. Kevin Erdahl is the most promising player on the team with wealthy parents. He has a best friend named Benji. Kevin and Maya are attracted to each other.
Meanwhile, Amat, who hails from a poor family but has a natural talent, is attracted to Maya. After winning the semi-finals, Kevin organized a party at his house. When Maya and Kevin sneak upstairs, Kevin rapes Maya, and Aman witnesses the incident. Initially shocked, Maya reports the incident, after which the entire town is in chaos. With half the town supporting Kevin, owing to his hockey talent, Maya and her family face humiliation. Did Maya get justice? With the town’s future resting on the hockey match, will Kevin make up for it? You can get the book here! 📖
7. Us Against You
Beartown is still healing from its past wounds of rape and the associated trauma. People constantly taunt Peter and Maya following the incident. There is economic and social chaos in the place, and many players have moved to the team of the neighboring town called Hed. Fights spiral up between the teams, and the Beartown team is improving under constant supervision from the new coach, Elisabeth Zackell. The team now has players like Benji, Amat, Bobo, and Vidar. Benji is a gay with a tragic family background. His character is explained in detail as he copes with loneliness after Kevin and struggles on his journey through the team. What happens later to all of them forms the crux of the story. You can get the book here! 📖
8. The Winners
This book is the last installment of the Beartown trilogy. A storm erupts, which makes the already destructed relationship between the two towns go haywire. Chaos ensues between both teams when either is on the verge of shutting down. The Anderson family from the previous two parts feature in this also. There are also familiar characters like Benji and Amat and their storylines. The novel, as the title states, explains winning and losing in the perspectives of both towns. You can get the book here! 📖
9. The Deal of a Lifetime
A successful and self-absorbed businessman is forced to reevaluate his entire life after he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. He remembers his past and feels sorry for being distant from his son and wife. On the other hand, a girl called Mia is battling Cancer with a brave heart. With the Angel of Death at both of their doorstep, can one life be exchanged for the other? This book, though very short, makes us question all our life choices and priorities. It emphasizes that the beauty of life lies in the simple moments and tells us to choose our priorities wisely. This book, falling under 100 pages, can be quickly completed in one sitting. You can get the book here! 📖
10. A Man Called Ove
This book is about the story of Ove, a 59-year-old prickly and grumpy man. He has one motive: to die. He does all the preplanning work so nobody will be bothered after his death. But he is constantly interrupted by something. One time, he is interrupted by his new neighbor, Parvaneh. She is pregnant and arrives with her husband, Patrick, and two kids at the house opposite Ove’s. Upon their arrival, Patrick accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox.
Though they all are good people, Ove feels that his peace and, more importantly, his all-prepared suicide plans are disrupted after Parvaneh’s arrival. The book alternates between the present and the past. Ove’s childhood, the passing away of his parents, and the dark portions of his life are reflected. His life changes for the better after meeting Sonja, his late wife. He starts falling in love with her and marries her.
She is the perfect ray of positivity to Ove’s highly negative life, filling his black-and-white life with colors. Even after a tragic accident that left Sonja paralyzed for a lifetime, she found ways to keep herself cheerful and happy. Ove often says he doesn’t know how to live without her and wants to die. How his life was influenced and changed after the entry of Parvaneh forms the rest of the story. You can get the book here! 📖
These are the Best Fredrik Backman Books to read! Which of these books is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
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