Beartown (Large Print / Hardcover)
May 2017 Indie Next List
“After a family tragedy, former NHL player Peter Andersson moves his family back to Beartown, where he's gotten a job as general manager for the local hockey club. Beartown is on its way back up, riding the heels of its most successful junior team in years. On the cusp of that victory, news breaks of a crime that shakes the community to its core. When the worst happens, who do you stand by - your team, your community, your family? In Beartown, Backman shows us, once again, that human beings are anything but predictable.”
— Julia Turner, Itinerant Literate Books, Charleston, SC
Summer 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“I loved this book so much that I truly didn’t want it to end. Backman writes stories that are full of heart yet gritty and real enough that they don’t veer into cloying sentimentality. He is a master craftsman, weaving subtle details into a beautifully told, captivating masterpiece. Beartown, on the edge of nowhere, is in an economic decline, with only the town’s hockey team giving its residents hope for the future and a sense of belonging. When that future is threatened, Beartown’s residents are forced to show what they really stand for. If you like John Irving, if you love Richard Russo, if you want a novel that is just plain wonderful, read Beartown!”
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books (Okemos), Okemos, MI
Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.
At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager's daughter--and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.
Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people's dreams on our shoulders.