us against you
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A heart-wrenching story of how loyalty, friendship, and love carry a town through its darkest days.
After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will 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 Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.
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.
“Backman returns to the hockey-obsessed village of his previous novel Beartown to chronicle the passion, violence, resilience, and humanity of the people who live there in this engrossing tale of small-town Swedish life.... Backman’s excellent novel has an atmosphere of both Scandinavian folktale and Greek tragedy. Darkness and grit exist alongside tenderness and levity, creating a blunt realism that brings the setting’s small-town atmosphere to vivid life.”
“Evident in all [Backman] novels is an apparent ability to state a truth about humanity with breathtaking elegance.”
“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 (starred review)
“What you get in a Fredrik Backman work is wonderful writing and brilliant insights into things that truly matter — right vs. wrong, fear vs. courage, love vs. hate, the importance and limits of friendship and loyalty, and more. Fredrik Backman is one of the world’s best and most interesting novelists. He is a giant among the world’s great novelists — and this literary giant is still growing.”
“With his wry acceptance of foible and failure, Backman combines a singular style with a large and compassionate perspective for his characters. Backman’s novels have wide appeal, and for good reason. Us Against You takes a lyrical look at how a community heals, how families recover and how individuals grow.”
—The Washington Post
“In his dark but warmhearted way, Backman is a psychologist, and his insights are on display again in Us Against You.…he creates an astute emotional world much bigger than a small Swedish town. It’s a novel you can sink into.”
“Through Backman's astute examination of humanity, Us Against You will elicit snickers and full-blown belly laughs. It will rip out hearts, then replace them stronger than before. Most of all, it is sure to prompt readers to examine their lives in order to be better people, if only in microscopic ways."
“The sequel to Beartown is finally here, and it does not disappoint.”
"Dark and gritty, but peppered with moments of breath-catching hope."
—Modern Mrs. Darcy
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