I am a big fan of Fredrik Backman, even though I have read only 2 of his books.
The first one was A Man Called Ove. I completed the second one quite recently. It is a beautiful, emotional, intense story of a sleepy little cold town called Beartown. A place where people are laidback in all things except one – ice hockey. Their love for the sport transcends everything. It reminds me of professional football club fans. The same passion, the same energy, the same love. The same disappointment when their team loses or when a controversy pops up. If you are a sports fan or know someone who is, you would find this book extremely relatable.
Fredrik Backman is a genius when it comes to explaining moments and expressing emotions. I got goosebumps while reading through many of the quotes in Beartown.
I am listing some of my favorites here.
“The only thing the sport gives us are moments. But what the hell is life, Peter, apart from moments?”
“Being a parent makes you feel like a blanket that’s always too small. No matter how hard you try to cover everyone, there’s always someone who’s freezing.”
“Religion is something between you and other people; it’s full of interpretations and theories and opinions. But faith … that’s just between you and God.”
“People sometimes say that sorrow is mental but longing is physical. One is a wound, the other an amputated limb, a withered petal compared to a snapped stem.”
“One of all the terrible effects of grief is that we interpret its absence as egotism. It’s impossible to explain what you have to do in order to carry on after a funeral, how to put the pieces of a family back together again, how to live with the jagged edges. So what do you end up asking for? You ask for a good day. One single good day. A few hours of amnesia.”
“In a few years’ time she’ll read an old newspaper article about research showing that the part of the brain that registers physical pain is the same part that registers jealousy. And then Ana will understand why she hurt so badly.”
“A great deal is expected of anyone who’s been given a lot.”
“Community is the fact that we work towards the same goal, that we accept our respective roles in order to reach it. Values is the fact that we trust each other. That we love each other.”
“If Peter has learned one thing about human nature during all his years in hockey, it’s that almost everyone regards themselves as a good team player, but that very few indeed understand what that really means.”
“When you can accept the worst aspects of your teammates because you love the collective, that’s when you’re a team player.”
“Because the thing you can never be prepared for when you have children is your increased sensitivity. Not just feeling, but hypersensitivity. He didn’t know he was capable of feeling this much, to the point where he can hardly bear to be in his own skin.”
“One of the first things you learn as a leader, whether you choose the position or have it forced upon you, is that leadership is as much about what you don’t say as what you do say.”
“The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard. It makes demands. Hate is simple.”
“Every child in every town in every country has at some point played games that are dangerous to the point of being lethal. Every gang of friends includes someone who always takes things too far, who is the first to jump from the highest rock, the last to jump across the rails when the train comes. That child isn’t the bravest, just the least frightened. And possibly the one who feels he or she doesn’t have as much to lose as the others.”
“The simplest and truest thing David knows about hockey is that teams win games. It doesn’t matter how good a coach’s tactics are: if they’re to stand any chance of working, first the players need to believe in them.”
“Fighting isn’t hard. It’s the starting and stopping that are hard.”
“There are few words that are harder to explain than ‘loyalty’. It’s always regarded as a positive characteristic, because a lot of people would say that many of the best things people do for each other occur precisely because of loyalty. The only problem is that many of the very worst things we do to each other occur because of the same thing.”