Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (on CD) + One Book discussion tonight!

by Fredrik Backman [Compact Disc Backman]

Beartown is the first of this year’s One Book – One Lincoln finalists that I had the chance to read, or in this case, listen to, as I enjoyed the Book-on-CD version of Fredrik Backman’s novel. Though set in the author’s native Sweden, this felt like it could’ve been any small northern U.S. or Canadian town. Beartown is a community that is hockey obsessed. The entire community relies, in one way or another, on the industry of hockey, and the young men who play on either the “junior” team or the “A” team hold exalted positions within Beartown society. The events and perspective of the novel Beartown rotate among a wide variety of characters throughout Beartown’s community, from the young players, the groupies, the local businessmen sponsoring the team, and the coaches and managers, to the families of the players, the also-rans that never quite succeeded, and the folks who just don’t “get” why hockey is so important.

The characters are all well drawn and defined. I particularly enjoyed following players Benji, Bobo and Amat, as well as the various coaches, sponsors and colorful residents of Beartown. The main plot of the novel hinges on an incident in which the star player of the junior team rapes one of the girls in his class, who just happens to be the daughter of the hockey club’s general manager. This sets up a battle of morals, ethics, partisanship and community survival that is actually painful to observe.
The audiobook adaptation, narrated by Marin Ireland, was extremely well-done, and I strongly recommend this version of the story, if you’re a fan of audiobooks. Of the three things I’ve read or sampled by Backman, each has had a completely different style/tone. This is the darkest I’ve seen from him so far. For those who like this, I’m pleased to see that Us Against You, a sequel to Beartown, came out the first week of June!

[ publisher’s official Beartown web page ] | [ official English-language Fredrik Backman web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Don't miss tonight's One Book - One Lincoln Discussion of Beartown at the Francie & Finch bookstore in downtown Lincoln, 6:00-7:00 p.m.! Join fellow fans to discuss this specific One Book finalist!
Have you read or listened to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

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