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Staff Pick
Us Against You: A Novel

Us Against You: A Novel

Current price: $28.00
Publication Date: June 5th, 2018
Atria Books

Staff Reviews

Fredrik Bachman’s latest novel, Us Against Them, follows on from the events of his previous novel, Beartown, and asks the question: How does a town recover from a divisive and shocking event that rips a community apart?

Beartown is a tough, hard-working community deep in the forest. Life isn’t easy for the inhabitants of the town, but they shrug off their difficulties with pride. Life isn’t supposed to be easy, after all.

The pride and joy of the community is the local ice-hockey team. But the team is threatened with closure. All the best players have left for the neighboring town of Hed, and the team’s sponsors have followed them. The team’s long-standing coach retires and is replaced by a woman with an unusual coaching style. One of the players is photographed kissing his male lover, and the photo goes viral. The club’s general manager, Peter Andersson, feels his family drifting slowly apart as they struggle to deal with what happened to his daughter, Maya.

Backman takes the shattered fragments of the community and deftly pieces them together once more. This is a book about guilt, and the destruction it can wreak on relationships. But it’s much more than that. It's about surviving in the face of hardship; it’s about growing, and the strength that can come from loyalty and a shared sense of passion. This is a compassionate novel. There are some wonderfully moving moments when the inner kindness of the town’s inhabitants is revealed.  Backman observes the dark in people, but also the light. His touch is delicate, understated, even, and wields great power.

Fredrik Backman is the bestselling author of A Man Called Ove. His books have been published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

— Phil


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.

About the Author

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called OveMy Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s SorryBritt-Marie Was HereBeartownUs Against You, and Anxious People, as well as two novellas and one work of nonfiction. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter @BackmanLand and on Instagram @Backmansk.

Praise for Us Against You: A Novel


“What you get in a Fredrik Backman work is wonderful writing and brilliant insights into things that truly matter—right vs. wrong, fear vs. courage, love vs. hate, the importance and limits of friendship and loyalty, and more. Fredrik Backman is one of the world’s best and most interesting novelists. He is a giant among the world’s great novelists—and this literary giant is still growing.”
— Washington Times

"[Backman] creates an astute emotional world much bigger than a small Swedish town...A novel you can sink into."
— Chicago Tribune

"Deftly explores recovery and rebirth."
— US Weekly

“If Alexander McCall Smith’s and Maeve Binchy’s novels had a love child, the result would be the work of Swedish writer Fredrik Backman...With his wry acceptance of foible and failure, Backman combines a singular style with a large and compassionate perspective for his characters...[His] novels have wide appeal, and for good reason. Us Against You takes a lyrical look at how a community heals, how families recover and how individuals grow.”
— The Washington Post

“Backman (A Man Called Ove) returns to the hockey-obsessed village of his previous novel Beartown to chronicle the passion, violence, resilience, and humanity of the people who live there in this engrossing tale of small-town Swedish life... Backman’s excellent novel has an atmosphere of both Scandinavian folktale and Greek tragedy.  Darkness and grit exist alongside tenderness and levity, creating a blunt realism that brings the setting’s small-town atmosphere to vivid life.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Evident in all [Backman] novels is an apparent ability to state a truth about humanity with breathtaking elegance.” 
— Kirkus

"A light hearted, deeply moving novel about a grumpy but loveable curmudgeon who finds his solitary world."
— CBS Local