Us Against You|Backman, Fredrik
Us Against You
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Instant New York Times Bestseller The author of A Man Called Ove returns with "a lyrical look at how a community heals, how families recover, and how individuals grow" (The Washington Post).

"Fans of Backman will not be disappointed. His work continues to amaze and captivate, enlighten and thrill." --Shelf Awareness

A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don't expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they've always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it's a cruel blow when they hear that their town's ice hockey club might 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 the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. But the arrival of a newcomer gives Beartown hockey a chance at a comeback.

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 huge challenge, especially as the town's enmity with Hed grows more and more acute as the big game approaches.

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.


  • ISBN-13: 9781501160790
  • ISBN-10: 1501160796
  • Publisher: Book Depot
  • Publish Date: January 2019

Back to Beartown

Fredrik Backman’s engrossing fifth book is a sequel to Beartown, his 2017 novel set in a small town on the edge of a Swedish forest. 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.

Beartown’s anxiety is further fueled by a major shift in the Bears’ team roster. After the rape of the general manager’s daughter, Maya, by a team member, as chronicled in Beartown, the team was torn apart. Some Bears abandoned the team and joined the Bulls from the neighboring town of Hed. Those who stayed in Beartown are some of the best players, but the remaining team lacks the size and experience of the Bulls.

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. Maya struggles to move on from her traumatic experience, constantly aware that many blame her for the team’s demise. Her best friend, Ana, carelessly reveals that their friend Benji, one of the team’s best players, is gay. Maya’s parents, Peter and Kira, constantly face backlash from a town that blames their report of Maya’s rape for the team’s problems. Vidar, the younger brother of one of the town bullies, is mysteriously released from a detention camp to be the Bears’ goalie. Ramona, a widow who runs the local bar, lovingly supports the pack of “hooligans” who resort to violence in support of their team. The new Bears coach is a woman, an ex-professional player who struggles to gain the acceptance of the town and her players. And lurking in the background is a Wizard of Oz-like figure—a politician trying to manipulate the team and factory to enrich his own pockets.

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.


This article was originally published in the June 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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