Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don’t expect life to be easy or fair. Yet, no matter how difficult times get, they’ve always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. The big game approaches between Beartown and rival town Hed, but by the time the last goal is scored, a resident of Beartown will be dead.
This remote small town in a forest is still reeling from scandal ... It’s an emotional roller coaster of a ride with surprising twists and turns as the intense rivalry between Beartown and Hed escalates from pranks to serious violence, leaving both communities stunned by what they’ve become. 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.
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. His new book, Us Against You continues the saga of a small place that readers fell in love with in Beartown (2017) ... If you have no interest in hockey, you might assume you’ll have no interest in this novel. You would be wrong.
As Us Against You opens, Beartown’s future is threatened: first by the possible closure of its only factory, and second by the bankruptcy faced by the town’s hockey club. Hockey isn’t merely a game to the town’s inhabitants—their whole lives revolve around the Bears’ wins and losses. Backman’s latest saga focuses on the first hockey season following the schism, brilliantly portraying the way each magnetic character copes with the hatred and violence that has engulfed these two small towns as their teams prepare to do battle ... Backman stirs this volatile mélange of disparate characters until the inevitable explosion occurs, leaving Beartown sadder but perhaps wiser than before ... His depiction of this small town will resonate especially with readers who struggle with the racism, homophobia and misogyny that exist in their own communities.