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PRAISE FOR US AGAINST YOU
“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.” (Washington Times)
"[Backman] creates an astute emotional world much bigger than a small Swedish town...A novel you can sink into." (Chicago Tribune)
"Deftly explores recovery and rebirth." (US Weekly)
“If Alexander McCall Smith’s and Maeve Binchy’s novels had a love child, the result would be the work of Swedish writer Fredrik Backman...With his wry acceptance of foible and failure, Backman combines a singular style with a large and compassionate perspective for his characters...[His] 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)
“Backman (A Man Called Ove) 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.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Evident in all [Backman] novels is an apparent ability to state a truth about humanity with breathtaking elegance.” (Kirkus)
About the Author
- ASIN : B078M5KLX9
- Publisher : Atria Books; Reprint edition (June 5, 2018)
- Publication date : June 5, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 7946 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 449 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1501160796
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,822 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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Us Against You is bestselling author Fredrick Backman’s sequel to his novel Beartown. Both are MUST reads. That is all my review really needs to say: just listen to me, they do not disappoint.
For those who need more convincing, well here goes:
Us Against You brings back all the characters we love, or love to hate: Benji (my fav!), Amat, Bobo, the Andersson’s, Ana, Sune, the Lyft’s, Ramona…I can keep going but will stop it there. We are also introduced to politician Richard Theo who is reminiscent of Tommy Carcetti from HBO’s The Wire, the Rinnius’ Brothers Teemu & Vidar, and new head coach Zackell.
This novel is about so much more than hockey, in fact there isn’t that much of it actually played. It focuses on the community’s handling of “the scandal” aftermath from Beartown: with politics muddling in and creating even more conflict between Beartown and Hed residents. You are either a Bear or a Bull and you hate the other for even existing. Families, friendships, secrets, the club…will never be the same. Trigger warning: there is a fair amount of fighting.
Backman’s writing consists of simple sentences packed with punch: so much meaning with the right amount of build up: his writing style is brilliant!
Before the season ends, a resident of Beartown will be dead. Hed and Beartown will be left to decide if hockey is really what is most important. The towns will both be challenged and be given a choice.
This book was not very good. I was disappointed because Backman is one of my favorite authors. I love almost everything is writes, but this one was just not well written. First, it is extemely melencholy. There is never an upswing for any of the characters - which makes the story just drag. I mean - really? Nothing but sadness? One reviewing on Amazon said it best "It was like a swirling snowstorm that was brewing for too long". Nother ever really happened. Each chapter would leave you with cliff hangers and often he would say "they would remember this day". But then....what? Nothing of great importance. He did too much setting up and then things would work out fine. There was too much of that.
I don't recommend this book. And the rumor is that there will be a third. I honestly think he should have just left Beartown alone and not tried to continue the story. Because it really has no where else to go.
Top reviews from other countries
Fredrik Backman is a wonderful storyteller. It almost feels as if you’re sitting in a pub with someone who’s telling you the story of Beartown and I once again became utterly invested in the lives of these characters, hurting with them and rooting for them. They wormed their way into my heart from the start and I won’t be forgetting any of them in a hurry.
Beautifully written and incredibly captivating, Us Against You is as much of a gem as Beartown/The Scandal is and it has caused another massive book hangover. I’m quietly hoping for a third instalment in this series. There are more stories to tell, I’m sure, but quite frankly, I’d take any excuse to return to Beartown.
As with his previous novel however, Backman touches on so many issues that are hidden within a commmunity; both the large and the small, the good and the bad. He has a way with words and sometimes his words really do just take your breath away. Sometimes I found myself re-reading a paragraph for exactly that reason. And at the finale, he knows how to use those same words to break your heart into a thousand pieces. Backman's writing makes most other authors look clumsy in comparison and his characterisations can make you weep.
But it still didn't quite hit the pinacle of Beartown and there's possibly a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, the tone is far less innocent I suppose. Whereas Beartown is all surrounded by individuals actions and the way they can spiral a situation out of control, Us Against You is just as heavily based on one mans ability to manipulate a series of situations and a variety of people. All of the events were far more calculated and whilst that made for a good read, it didn't make for the spell-binding read that Beartown was. Beartown didn't need a single individual's meddling fingers to keep the events spiralling... this did, and that detracted from the tone of the novel quite a bit for me.
I also found the constant active foretelling of something dark on the horizon to be somewhat tedious after a while, particularly when everything is so slowly paced. Whereas with Beartown you get build up and repurcussions in almost equal proportion with the events spiralling out of control somewhere in the middle, here it is nearly all build up. It's well written build up and it showcases the characters beautifully, but it's missing something. And when I hit the finale, I won't deny that I cried, but somehow I can't help but feel that the book wasn't quite balanced as perfectly as Beartown.
But at the same time, this still reflects some of the greatest lights within humanity at the same time as it shines a glow on some of the darkest. It is still beautifully written with passages that will haunt me for long to come. It is still a novel about humanity; about loss and love, marriage and belonging, community and hatred. It still has those astonishing nuances and interlinking characters, with stories that spill over unwillingly into others lives. It's still a story about ice hockey and it is still so much more than that. Is it Beartown? No, not quite. Is it worth something in and of itself however? Yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Once again its so compelling and I was immediately drawn into Beartown and Backman really draws you in to the community. Once more, I felt that I lived and had grown up in this town.
The writing is beautiful and there is so much heart and emotion. It really is special.
This book focused less on the hockey and more on the people. I think 'Beartown' had a greater balance and ultimately a more believable story.
I felt that the author wanted to develop the stories of the people of Beartown but may have been better served doing a few more books as this one has such a lot going on and it felt a bit busy at times.
The writing is incredible and teh charcaters are brilliant. I can really pay the book and the author no greater compliment than to say that despite being based in the North of England that 'WE ARE THE BEARS FROM BEARTOWN
Without a doubt, my favourite character is Benji. Benji is violent, stubborn, and deeply flawed and is the moral, destructive compass of the book. My fellow readers agreed and throughout the book I found myself chanting 'Not Benji, Not Benji, Not Benji' like some Yoga mantra. Benji is the heart of this book and the violence meted out on him is hard to read at times.
But even the other characters are human, flawed and fully rounded - a vicious gossip who will always quietly cook food for anyone who dealing with a bereavement; a taciturn father who will read the Harry Potter stories to his children at night as he learns to live without his wife; a grizzled bar-owner who is the town's mother and a boy with impulse control who just wants to play hockey and is tentatively embarking on his first relationship. The characters are not good or bad, there are no 'black hats or white hats' here. These are deeply human, deeply flawed but all with a core of humanity. They could be one of us, our friends, family or neighbours.
Backman, just as in Beartown writes beautiful, strong women; Ramona, Maya, Ana and Benji's 3 wonderful Sisters. All working to stay alive, survivors. I believed in every single one of them.
Let me talk about 'The Pack' - a group of Beartown Hockey's toughest supporters, violent and yet all brothers in arms, they stood up for Maya and her father, Peter after the events of the previous book. The hate the rival town of Hed and its hockey team and this spills into a wider conflict - a fight for jobs and economic recovery. All stage-managed by puppet-master Richard Theo.
The writing about relationships is beautiful and sensitive. Peter and Kira are struggling and this is all depicted with the metaphor of 2 wine-glasses turning into a single glass. Both craving a moment to sit and just be with each other, but pulled apart by events, and dealing with those on their own.
This is a novel about the power of sport, how sport and rivalry can spill into violence and hatred. But ultimately how it can unite and bring love through a shared love of the sport. I defy you not to have a tear in your eye when one team and its supporters, truly broken are uplifted and supported by their greatest rivals.
Throughout there is a sense of dread with this novel. I found myself waiting for a punch that I knew was coming. I was truly reading with a heavy load on my back and there was relief in the release. It's hard, yet beautiful.
I'm awarding this book 4.75 stars. It nearly was another 5 Star read, but at the start I felt that the first few chapters needed to settle into itself. It is a measure of how good the author is, that I have come to expect only perfection. Also, there was relatively little of another of my favourite characters Amat, and his dignified mother, who I adored in this previous book, but this is really nit-picking now.
The rest of the novel is wonderful, awful, emotional and terrifying all at the same time. I loved this and it was an excellent and suitable follow-up to Beartown.