09 Mar / Anxious People by Frederik Backman, translated by Neil Smith [in Library Journal]
Marin Ireland has a mere couple dozen audio credits – the majority of them in the last few years – yet she’s undoubtedly one of the industry’s most versatile, consistently stupendous narrators. Returning for her third Fredrick Backman pairing, Ireland superbly brings to life the vast cast with enviably distinct and effortlessly fluid characterizations.
The story’s center is a hostage situation during an open house: a failed bank robbery, financial collapse, adultery, and suicide are just some of the challenges that loom over the crowd trapped inside the apartment. And yet the narrative’s soul turns out to be unexpected lifesaving connections.
Ireland gets every character just right: the father and son who make up the local police force; the desperate divorced mother who will do anything for her young children; the high-strung real estate agent; the disgruntled, acerbic executive; the lesbian couple about to become parents; the octogenarian waiting for her husband; the always-in-search-of-a-bargain husband-and-wife fix-it team; the bunny-suited stranger hogging the bathroom.
Somehow, Ireland becomes a co-conspirator, enjoying the pizza, smoking in the closet, chatting books. Balancing – so remarkably well! – Big Topics with whimsy and charm, Backman continues his bestselling success; Ireland, meanwhile, proves why audiences everywhere need to listen in.
Published: 2019 (Sweden), 2020 (United States)