Reviews By Sarah
The Winners by Fredrik Backman
The Winners wraps up Backman’s trilogy (Beartown, Us Against You) and allows us to return after two years to the close-knit communities of Beartown and Hed where the ice hockey rivalry still thrives, sometimes violently. The book is 688 pages and spans just two weeks, but much occurs in that short space of time. There is no down time in this book. Events occur quickly and with appropriate buildup and tension. Beartown seems to have moved on since the “incident” involving Maya Andersson and Kevin Erdahl, and there is a sense of renewal and optimism now with the newly built ice rink around which everyone’s lives seem to revolve. The town itself is doing much better financially as well. Not so in Hed, just a few miles away, where the roof of their ice rink has collapsed because of a severe wind storm. Resentment is further fueled by the fact that Hed players will now have to practice at Beartown’s rink. The community comes together temporarily when Ramona, the owner of the only pub in Beartown, dies. Maya Andersson comes home from music school and Benji Ovich returns after an extended self exile in Asia to attend. Both must come to terms with their past traumas and their return stokes speculation, but they make new friends which allows us to meet the characters Amat, Matteo, Ana, Bobo, Benji, Alexandr, Lev, Mumble, and Tess. Their lives become intertwined, endearingly and fortunately for some, tragically for others. In addition,Tails and Peter Andersson come under investigation for corruption and money laundering in their attempt to improve Beartown and for personal gain. One makes amends, the other does time.
I like Backman’s writing, his juxtaposition of words, the depth he gives his characters, and his insight to the female psyche. Although long, the book was engrossing and surprising. Backman has a good story to tell in those 688 pages, and he gives us the opportunity to think about winning, losing, and forgiving.
So, who are “the winners”? Those that forgive.