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Us Against You: Book summary and reviews of Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Us Against You

A Beartown Novel

by Fredrik Backman

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman X
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2018
    448 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown returns with an unforgettable novel.

Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did.
Have you ever seen a town rise? Ours did that, too.

A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don't expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they've always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it's a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback.

Soon a team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you'll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; always dutiful and eager-to-please Bobo; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the town's enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big game approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt intensifies. By the time the last goal is scored, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after everything, the game they love can ever return to something as simple and innocent as a field of ice, two nets, and two teams. Us against you.

Here is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that give form and color to our communities. With immense compassion and insight, Fredrik Backman reveals how loyalty, friendship, and kindness can carry a town through its most challenging days.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. There is even more potential for book group discussion here as Backman explores violence, political maneuvering, communities, feminism, sexuality, criminality, the role of sports in society, and what makes us all tick." - Library Journal

"Darkness and grit exist alongside tenderness and levity, creating a blunt realism that brings the setting's small-town atmosphere to vivid life." - Publishers Weekly

"Backman plays the story for both cynicism and hope, and his skill makes both hard, but not impossible, to resist." - Kirkus

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Cloggie Downunder

Moving and thought-provoking
Us Against You is the second novel in the Beartown series by Swedish blogger, columnist and author, Fredrik Backman. It is translated from Swedish by Neil Smith. Midsummer in Beartown and there’s no ice hockey to be played, but the events of spring, “the scandal” as some referred to it, still looms large in the town’s collective consciousness. The (unpunished) perpetrator may have left town, but the victim still bears the blame.

When the Regional Councillors decide that the Beartown Bears Ice Hockey Club will be liquidated, a hearty cheer goes up from their rivals, the Hed Hockey team, while the blame is placed firmly on the shoulders of the team’s manager, Peter Andersson and his daughter, Maya. One councillor, however, has plans of his own: a stranger arrives in Beartown on a mission from this politician. His plan brings hope, but is he to be trusted?

In this sequel, all the characters from The Scandal (Beartown #1) feature, but with their backstories expanded, their futures speculated upon and their present reactions to events explored. “Inside every large story there are always plenty of small ones.” Some new and interesting characters also appear. As with the first book, there is a lot of Ice Hockey in this story, but it could actually be centred around any team sport in a remote town to the same effect.

There is quite a long and slow build-up to the climax, which may be frustrating for some readers, but patience is rewarded. Backman presents moral and ethical dilemmas in a realistic fashion, there are some lump-in-the-throat moments and many wise words: “Men are busy, but boys don’t stop growing. Sons want their fathers’ attention until the precise moment when fathers want their sons’.” Moving and thought-provoking.

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Author Information

Fredrik Backman Author Biography

Photo: Henric Lindsten

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish author, blogger and columnist. He is the author of a work of nonfiction, Things My Son Needs to Know About Life, and a number of novels including A Man Called Ove, his first novel. Ove has sold more than 2.8 million copies worldwide, making it one of Sweden's most popular literary exports since Stieg Larsson's thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - not bad for a book that was initially ignored or rejected by publishers including one memorable response that reads, "we like your novel, we think your writing has potential, but we see no commercial potential."

Link to Fredrik Backman's Website

Name Pronunciation
Fredrik Backman: Fred-rick Bock-men

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