BEARTOWN by Fredrik Backman

BEARTOWN

by ; translated by
BUY NOW FROM
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In Beartown, where the people are as "tough as the forest, as hard as the ice," the star player on the beloved hockey team is accused of rape, and the town turns upon itself.

Swedish novelist Backman’s (A Man Called Ove, 2014, etc.) story quickly becomes a rich exploration of the culture of hockey, a sport whose acolytes see it as a violent liturgy on ice. Beartown explodes after rape charges are brought against the talented Kevin, son of privilege and influence, who's nearly untouchable because of his transcendent talent. The victim is Maya, the teenage daughter of the hockey club’s much-admired general manager, Peter, another Beartown golden boy, a hockey star who made it to the NHL. Peter was lured home to bring winning hockey back to Beartown. Now, after years of despair, the local club is on the cusp of a championship, but not without Kevin. Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic. Despite his love for hockey, where fights are part of the game, Peter hates violence. Kira, his wife, is an attorney with an aggressive, take-no-prisoners demeanor. Minor characters include Sune, "the man who has been coach of Beartown's A-team since Peter was a boy," whom the sponsors now want fired. There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor: the club president’s table manners are so crude "you can’t help wondering if he’s actually misunderstood the whole concept of eating." Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it's part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction.

A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman’s latest will resonate a long time.

Pub Date: April 25th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5011-6076-9
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2017




OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for CRIME SCENE
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for MRS. FLETCHER
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for PARADISE VALLEY
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for REFUGEE
VERDICT:
BUY IT

MORE BY FREDRIK BACKMAN

FictionA MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman
by Fredrik Backman

MORE BY NEIL SMITH

MysteryTHE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson
by Leif G.W. Persson
MysteryTHE THIRST by Jo Nesbø
by Jo Nesbø
FictionTHE CROW GIRL by Erik Axl Sund
by Erik Axl Sund

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionTROPHY by Michael Griffith
by Michael Griffith
FictionCALICO JOE by John Grisham
by John Grisham
FictionAMERICAN MASCULINE by Shann Ray
by Shann Ray